Although the number of insecure jobs has increased considerably over the recent decades, relatively little is known about the health consequences of job insecurity, their international pattern, and factors that may modify them. In this paper, we investigated the association between job insecurity and self-rated health, and whether the relationship differs by country or individual-level characteristics. Cross-sectional data from 3 population-based studies on job insecurity, self-rated health, demographic, socioeconomic, work-related and behavioural factors and lifetime chronic diseases in 23,245 working subjects aged 45-70 years from 16 European countries were analysed using logistic regression and meta-analysis. In fully adjusted models, job insecurity was significantly associated with an increased risk of poor health in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia, with odds ratios ranging between 1.3 and 2.0. Similar, but not significant, associations were observed in Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. We found no effect of job insecurity in Belgium and Sweden. In the pooled data, the odds ratio of poor health by job insecurity was 1.39. The association between job insecurity and health did not differ significantly by age, sex, education, and marital status. Persons with insecure jobs were at an increased risk of poor health in most of the countries included in the analysis. Given these results and trends towards increasing frequency of insecure jobs, attention needs to be paid to the public health consequences of job insecurity.
Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.