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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
JOB INSECURITY AND HEALTH: A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Minerva Medicolegale 2014 September;134(3):163-70
Effects of job insecurity on health
Servizio Sovrazonale di Epidemiologia, ASL TO3 Regione Piemonte, Grugliasco, Torino, Italia
In the last decades, striking changes in the economy and in the labour market in Europe have been accompanied by a rise in job insecurity in the employed population. A number of studies have reported excess risks in health outcomes among workers exposed to job insecurity, especially mental disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Several literature reviews have confirmed the consistency of these observations, which would not be attributable to selection bias, exposure misclassification or confounding, but would reflect a causal relationship between job insecurity and health, supported also by the finding of a dose-response effect in some studies. Some categories of workers appear more susceptible, including subjects in more disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, women, older workers; furthermore, some contextual factors have been reported to increase workers’ susceptibility to job insecurity, in particular exposure to other psychosocial factors at work, having low social support, living in countries with scanty economic support for the unemployed, or in areas with high unemployment rates. The most accredited mechanism through which job insecurity would cause health effects is acting as a direct stressor, due on one hand to the fear of the workers of losing positive latent functions of the employment, on the other hand to the uncertainty of finding a new job. The observation of a buffering effect of social protection systems on the relationship between job insecurity and health suggests the need of broadening access to welfare measures to wide sectors of the population, in order to contrast this phenomenon.