Low-quality employment trajectories and risk of common mental disorders, substance use disorders and suicide attempt: a longitudinal study of the Swedish workforce.

Johanna Jonsson, Carles Muntaner, Theo Bodin, Magnus Alderling, Rebeka Balogh, Bo Burström, Letitia Davis, Virginia Gunn, Tomas Hemmingsson, Mireia Julià, Katarina Kjellberg, Bertina Kreshpaj, Cecilia Orellana, Eva Padrosa, David H Wegman, Nuria Matilla-Santander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective

High-quality longitudinal evidence exploring the mental health risk associated with low-quality employment trajectories is scarce. We therefore aimed to investigate the risk of being diagnosed with common mental disorders, substance use disorders, or suicide attempt according to low-quality employment trajectories.

Methods

A longitudinal register-study based on the working population of Sweden (N=2 743 764). Employment trajectories (2005-2009) characterized by employment quality and pattern (constancy, fluctuation, mobility) were created. Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models for first incidence (2010-2017) diagnosis of common mental disorders, substance use disorders and suicide attempt as dependent on employment trajectories.

Results

We identified 21 employment trajectories, 10 of which were low quality (21%). With the exception of constant solo self-employment, there was an increased risk of common mental disorders (HR 1.07-1.62) and substance use disorders (HR 1.05-2.19) for all low-quality trajectories. Constant solo self-employment increased the risk for substance use disorders among women, while it reduced the risk of both disorders for men. Half of the low-quality trajectories were associated with a risk increase of suicide attempt (HR 1.08-1.76).

Conclusions

Low-quality employment trajectories represent risk factors for mental disorders and suicide attempt in Sweden, and there might be differential effects according to sex - especially in terms of self-employment. Policies ensuring and maintaining high-quality employment characteristics over time are imperative. Similar prospective studies are needed, also in other contexts, which cover the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the mechanisms linking employment trajectories with mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-520
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Volume47
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Nordic Association of Occupational Safety and Health. All rights reserved.

Copyright:
Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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