Employment precariousness in Spain: Prevalence, social distribution, and population-attributable risk percent of poor mental health

Alejandra Vives, Christophe Vanroelen, Marcelo Amable, Montserrat Ferrer, Salvador Moncada, Clara Llorens, Carles Muntaner, Fernando Benavides, Joan Benach

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Abstract

As a consequence of labor market flexibilization, nonstandard employment has expanded and standard employment has declined. In many cases, these transformations are best described as an evolution toward precarious employment, which is considered a major determinant of health and health inequalities. Using the Employment Precariousness Scale (EPRES), this study aims to determine the prevalence of precarious employment in the waged and salaried workforce in Spain, to describe its distribution across social groups defined by occupational class, gender, age, and immigrant status, and to estimate the proportion of cases of poor mental health potentially attributable to employment precariousness. Data are from the Psychosocial Work Environment Survey conducted in 2004-5 on a representative sample of the Spanish workforce. Findings indicate a high prevalence of employment precariousness, affecting nearly 6.5 million workers, with almost 900,000 of them exposed to high precariousness. These estimates are higher than the proportion of fixed-term employment reported in regular statistical sources but may today be an underestimation, given the current economic crisis. Additionally, a significant proportion of cases of poor mental health are potentially attributable to employment precariousness. Both the proportion of cases of poor mental health attributable to and the prevalence of employment precariousness were highly unequally distributed across the study sample, indicating that this may be a significant contributor to social inequalities in mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-646
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Health Services
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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    Vives, A., Vanroelen, C., Amable, M., Ferrer, M., Moncada, S., Llorens, C., Muntaner, C., Benavides, F., & Benach, J. (2011). Employment precariousness in Spain: Prevalence, social distribution, and population-attributable risk percent of poor mental health. International Journal of Health Services, 41(4), 625-646. https://doi.org/10.2190/HS.41.4.b