Gender, precarious work, and chronic diseases in South Korea

Il Ho Kim, Young Ho Khang, Carles Muntaner, Heeran Chun, Sung Il Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: In view of the growing number of nonstandard workers in South Korea, this study examined whether nonstandard workers reported poorer health compared to standard workers and assessed whether there were gender differences in the association between employment status and chronic health outcomes. Method: Data were taken from a representative-weighted sample of 1,563 men and 1,045 women aged 20-64, from the 2001 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nonstandard employment included part-time work, temporary work, and day labor. Self-rated health and self-reported chronic disease conditions were used as health measures. Main Results: Nonstandard employment was significantly associated with higher risk of self-rated health and chronic conditions after adjusting for socioeconomic position (education, occupational class, and income) and health behaviors (cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, regular exercise, and health examinations). However, the pattern in the relation between nonstandard work and specific health problems greatly differed by gender. Among men, nonstandard work arrangements were significantly associated with musculoskeletal disorders (OR 1.97, 95% CI 1.24-3.19) and liver disease (OR 2.83, 95% CI 1.27-6.32). Among women, nonstandard employment was related to mental disorders (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.40-7.56). Conclusion: The findings clearly indicate the need for further study of the observed associations, particularly prospective and analytical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-757
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct


  • Job insecurity
  • Nonstandard work
  • Self-rated health and chronic health conditions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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