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Mental Well-being Among Workers: A Cross-national Analysis of Job Insecurity Impact on the Workforce

Concetta Russo () and Marco Terraneo
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Concetta Russo: University of Milan-Bicocca
Marco Terraneo: University of Milan-Bicocca

Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, 2020, vol. 152, issue 2, No 1, 442 pages

Abstract: Abstract Drawing on 2011 and 2016 European Quality of Life Survey data from eight European countries, this paper considers the importance of subjective indicators of employment conditions in impacting mental well-being. Among employment conditions, job insecurity has been discussed as having a negative impact on mental well-being by enhancing the worker’s sense of unpredictability. The idea of losing one’s job brings with it the fear of an uncertain or unclear future and the sense of lack of agency—i.e. feeling powerless with respect to the risk of becoming unemployed. Thus, we investigate two dimensions of job insecurity, namely ‘cognitive job insecurity’ and ‘labour market insecurity’. Our dependent variable is mental health well-being, measured using the 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5), which is a self-reported health scale validated by several studies and internationally adopted for measuring psychological well-being. We apply a fixed-effects model and use a set of individual control variables to obtain parameter estimates. Moreover, to control for country-level heterogeneity, two macro-level variables are considered: the type of welfare regime and employment protection. The novelty of this research lies in disentangling the concept of precariousness from the dichotomy of open-ended/non-open-ended contract and in including in the analysis subjective categories such as self-perceived job insecurity. The findings of our study suggest that self-perceived job insecurity is negatively related to mental well-being for both permanent and temporary workers, making this stressor an important feature in predicting the emergence of psychological distress (i.e. feelings of anxiety or depression) among the workforce.

Keywords: Mental well-being; Job insecurity; Sociology of health; Quantitative research (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s11205-020-02441-5

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