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Adverse employment histories and health functioning: the CONSTANCES study
International Journal of Epidemiology  (IF7.196),  Pub Date : 2018-11-06, DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyy235
Morten Wahrendorf,Hanno Hoven,Marcel Goldberg,Marie Zins,Johannes Siegrist

Background
With changing employment histories in European labour markets, occupational health research needs to be supplemented by an approach that integrates adverse characteristics of entire employment histories, in terms of precarious, discontinued and disadvantaged employment careers. We analyse associations of adverse employment histories and six measures of health functioning, including affective, physical and cognitive functioning.
Methods
We use baseline data from the CONSTANCES study with detailed retrospective data on previous employment histories that are linked to current health functioning among people aged 45–60 years (men = 15 134; women = 16 584). The following career characteristics are assessed (all referring to careers between ages 25 and 45 years): number of jobs with temporary contracts, number of job changes, number of unemployment periods, years out of work, mode occupational position and lack of job promotion. The measures of health functioning range from depressive symptoms, standing balance, walking speed, lung function, to verbal memory and semantic fluency.
Results
For both men and women, multilevel regressions (participant nested in health-examination centre) revealed that adverse employment histories are associated with poor health functioning later on, in particular persistent disadvantage in terms of low occupational position, repeated periods of unemployment and weak labour-market ties (years out of work). Findings remain consistent after excluding respondents who had a health-related career interruption or already retired before age 45 years and, additionally, after adjusting for age, partnership and education.
Conclusion
Findings call for increased intervention efforts among more disadvantaged groups of the labour market at early-career stages.