Precarious employment and health: analysis of the Comprehensive National Survey in Japan

Ind Health. 2012;50(3):223-35. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.ms1260. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


Recent studies suggest that unstable employment contracts may affect the health of workers. Many Japanese workers working full time in ostensibly permanent positions actually operate within unstable and precarious employment conditions. We compared the health status of Japanese workers with precarious employment contracts with that of permanent workers using the 2007 Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions of the People on Health and Welfare (n=205,994). We classified their employment status as 'permanent' vs. 'precarious' (part-time, dispatch, or contract/non-regular) and compared their health conditions. Among both sexes, precarious workers were more likely than permanent workers to have poor self-rated health or more subjective symptoms, with more workers in full-time employment suffering from serious psychological distress (SPD) and more female workers who smoke. Using logistic regression, we identified a positive association between precarious employment and SPD and current smoking among workers engaged in full-time employment after adjusting for age, marital status, and work-related conditions. This study demonstrates that precarious employment contracts are associated with poor self-rated health, psychological distress, and tobacco use, especially among people working full-time jobs. These results suggest that engagement in full-time work under unstable employment status impairs workers' health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contracts / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Occupational Health / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Young Adult