Journal Article

Labor Market Trajectories and Health: A Four-Year Follow-up Study of Initially Fixed-Term Employees

Pekka Virtanen, Jussi Vahtera, Mika Kivimäki, Virpi Liukkonen, Marianna Virtanen and Jane Ferrie

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 161, issue 9, pages 840-846
Published in print May 2005 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online May 2005 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Labor Market Trajectories and Health: A Four-Year Follow-up Study of Initially Fixed-Term Employees

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With the growth of atypical employment, there is increasing concern about the potential health-damaging effects of unstable employment. This prospective study of Finnish public-sector employees in 1998–2002 examined labor market trajectories and changes in health. At entry, all participants had a fixed-term job contract. Trajectories were measured by exposure to unstable employment during follow-up, destination employment status at the end of follow-up, and the way in which these elements were combined. Nonoptimal self-rated health at baseline was associated with high exposure to unstable employment and unemployment as the destination. After adjustment for health and psychological distress at baseline, a trajectory with stable employment as the destination was associated with a decreased risk of psychological distress at follow-up (odds ratio = 0.68, 95% confidence interval: 0.46, 0.98), whereas a trajectory toward the labor market periphery was related to increased risk of nonoptimal health (odds ratio = 2.54, 95% confidence interval: 1.47, 4.39) when compared with remaining in fixed-term employment. A significant dose-response relation was seen between the measure combining exposure to instability with destination employment status and nonoptimal health. This longitudinal study provides evidence of health-related selection into employment trajectories and suggests that the trajectories themselves carry different health risks.

Keywords: career mobility; employment; health; prospective studies; unemployment

Journal Article.  4258 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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