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Effect of unequal employment status on workers’ health: Results from a Japanese national survey


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  • Nishikitani, Mariko
  • Tsurugano, Shinobu
  • Inoue, Mariko
  • Yano, Eiji
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    This study assesses the possibility of a period effect on Japanese workers’ health and its association with historical changes in the work environment. We used multi-year national cross-sectional surveys, the Comprehensive Survey of Living Conditions for 2001, 2004, and 2007, and estimated the period effect on the health of employed workers aged 18–65 years. The prevalence of ill-health indicators (poor self-rated health status, subjective symptoms, and the number of respondents receiving consultations from medical doctors and other health professionals) significantly increased during this period. Deteriorating trends in these health indicators persisted after adjusting for age and cohort effects and for individual factors such as employment, marital, and child-rearing status. Furthermore, after adjusting for income level as an individual factor, deteriorating trends remained for the poor self-rated health status of male employees, subjective symptoms of female employees, and receiving medical consultations for both genders. The health status of employed workers in Japan deteriorated, especially from 2004 to 2007, regardless of age and cohort effects. After taking individual socio-economic factors and the effects of the recession on society into consideration, we hypothesized a posteriori that the increase in precarious non-regular work may be the main factor underlying this period effect and may be the cause of the deterioration in workers’ health.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 439-451

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:3:p:439-451

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    Keywords: Japan; Employment status; Workers’ health; National survey; Period effect; Cohort effect;


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    1. Emi Sato & Kiyohide Fushimi, 2009. "What has influenced patient health-care expenditures in Japan?: variables of age, death, length of stay, and medical care," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(7), pages 843-853.
    2. Harding, David J., 2009. "Recent advances in age-period-cohort analysis. A commentary on Dregan and Armstrong, and on Reither, Hauser and Yang," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1449-1451, November.
    3. Lahelma, Eero & Rahkonen, Ossi & Huuhka, Minna, 1997. "Changes in the social patterning of health? The case of Finland 1986-1994," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 789-799, March.
    4. Kagamimori, Sadanobu & Gaina, Alexandru & Nasermoaddeli, Ali, 2009. "Socioeconomic status and health in the Japanese population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2152-2160, June.
    5. Ariel Kalil & Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest & Louise C. Hawkley & John T. Cacioppo, 2009. "Job Insecurity and Change Over Time in Health Among Older Men and Women," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 65(1), pages 81-90.
    6. repec:ese:iserwp:2003-02 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. László, Krisztina D. & Pikhart, Hynek & Kopp, Mária S. & Bobak, Martin & Pajak, Andrzej & Malyutina, Sofia & Salavecz, Gyöngyvér & Marmot, Michael, 2010. "Job insecurity and health: A study of 16 European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 867-874, March.
    8. Burgard, Sarah A. & Brand, Jennie E. & House, James S., 2009. "Perceived job insecurity and worker health in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 777-785, September.
    9. Sekine, Michikazu & Chandola, Tarani & Martikainen, Pekka & Marmot, Michael & Kagamimori, Sadanobu, 2009. "Socioeconomic inequalities in physical and mental functioning of British, Finnish, and Japanese civil servants: Role of job demand, control, and work hours," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1417-1425, November.
    10. Bardasi, Elena & Francesconi, Marco, 2004. "The impact of atypical employment on individual wellbeing: evidence from a panel of British workers," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1671-1688, May.
    11. Rodriguez, Eunice, 2002. "Marginal employment and health in Britain and Germany: does unstable employment predict health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 963-979, September.
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    Cited by:
    1. Minelli, Liliana & Pigini, Claudia & Chiavarini, Manuela & Bartolucci, Francesco, 2014. "Employment status and perceived health condition: longitudinal data from Italy," MPRA Paper 55788, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Alice Sanwald & Engelbert Theurl, 2014. "Atypical Employment and Health: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers 2014-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. Kachi, Yuko & Inoue, Mariko & Nishikitani, Mariko & Tsurugano, Shinobu & Yano, Eiji, 2013. "Determinants of changes in income-related health inequalities among working-age adults in Japan, 1986–2007: Time-trend study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 94-101.


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