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Social capital in working life and the health of employees

  • Liukkonen, Virpi
  • Virtanen, Pekka
  • Kivimäki, Mika
  • Pentti, Jaana
  • Vahtera, Jussi
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    It is commonly assumed that social capital influences health, but only few studies have examined this hypothesis in the context of the workplace. The present prospective cohort study of 6028 public sector employees in Finland investigated social capital as a workplace characteristic which potentially affects employee health. The two indicators of social capital were trust in the labour market, measured by security of the employment contract, and trust in co-worker support. Self-rated health status and psychological distress were used as indicators of health. The combination of subsidised job contract and low co-worker support (i.e. the lowest category of social capital) was associated with poorer health prospects than the combination of permanent employment and high support (the highest social capital category) in an age-adjusted model, but this association disappeared in logistic regression analysis adjusted by sociodemographic background factors and baseline health. Fixed-term employment predicted better self-rated health and less psychological distress when compared with permanent employment. Co-worker support was most common in permanent and least common in subsidised employees and it was associated with better self-rated health in women. Our findings suggest only partial support for the hypothesis of work-related social capital as a health resource.

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

    Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 2447-2458

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:59:y:2004:i:12:p:2447-2458
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