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Job insecurity and its association with health among employees in the Taiwanese general population


  • Cheng, Yawen
  • Chen, Chun-Wan
  • Chen, Chiou-Jong
  • Chiang, Tung-liang


As employers respond to intensive global competition through the deregulation of labor, job insecurity has become a widespread problem. It has been shown to have significant health impacts in a growing number of workers, but less is known about its social distribution, the mechanisms through which it may act, and the moderating effects of gender, socioeconomic position, and company size. Utilizing data from a national survey of a representative sample of paid employees in Taiwan, we examined the prevalence of job insecurity and its associations with psychosocial work characteristics and health status. A total of 8705 men and 5986 women aged between 25 and 65 years old were studied. Information on perceived job insecurity, industrial and occupational types, psychosocial work characteristics as assessed by the Job Strain model, and various measures of health status were obtained by a self-administered questionnaire. The overall prevalence of job insecurity was high (50%). Job insecurity was more prevalent among employees with lower education attainment, in blue-collar and construction workers, those employed in smaller companies, and in older women. Insecure employees also reported lower job control, higher job demands, and poor workplace social support, as compared with those who held secure positions. Regression analyses showed that job insecurity was strongly associated with poor health, even with adjustment of age, job control, job demands, and work place social support. The deleterious effects of job insecurity appeared to be stronger in men than women, in women who held managerial or professional jobs than women in other employment grades, and in those working in larger companies than smaller ones. The findings of this study suggest that perceived job insecurity is an important source of stress, and it is accompanied with adverse psychosocial work conditions and poor health. High-risk groups were identified for further investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng, Yawen & Chen, Chun-Wan & Chen, Chiou-Jong & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2005. "Job insecurity and its association with health among employees in the Taiwanese general population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 41-52, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:61:y:2005:i:1:p:41-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Rohde, Nicholas & Tang, K.K. & Osberg, Lars & Rao, Prasada, 2016. "The effect of economic insecurity on mental health: Recent evidence from Australian panel data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 250-258.
    3. Eve Caroli & Mathilde Godard, 2013. "Does Job Insecurity Deteriorate Health ? A Causal Approach for Europe," Working Papers 2013-13, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    4. Shahrul Nizam Salahudin & Zuliawati Mohamed Saad & Shirley Ken Tzu Ting & Mohd Nur Ruzainy Alwi, 2012. "Job Characteristics And Employee Wellbeing: A Case Of Malaysian Smes," Journal of Global Entrepreneurship, Global Research Agency, vol. 2(1), pages 36-47, January.
    5. Lücke, Christine, 2017. "How much does others’ protection matter? Employment protection and well-being," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168096, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Fiori, Francesca & Rinesi, Francesca & Spizzichino, Daniele & Di Giorgio, Ginevra, 2016. "Employment insecurity and mental health during the economic recession: An analysis of the young adult labour force in Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 90-98.
    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. Gutierrez, Italo A. & Michaud, Pierre-Carl, 2015. "Employer Downsizing and Older Workers' Health," IZA Discussion Papers 9140, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Kim, Il-Ho & Muntaner, Carles & Vahid Shahidi, Faraz & Vives, Alejandra & Vanroelen, Christophe & Benach, Joan, 2012. "Welfare states, flexible employment, and health: A critical review," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 99-127.
    10. Chen, Duan-Rung & Chang, Ly-Yun & Yang, Meng-Li, 2008. "Gender-specific responses to social determinants associated with self-perceived health in Taiwan: A multilevel approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(10), pages 1630-1640, November.
    11. Murat Darçın, 2016. "Relationship Between Working Condition Quality and Perceived Quality of Society," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1193-1205, December.
    12. Inmaculada Silla & Nele Cuyper & Francisco Gracia & José Peiró & Hans Witte, 2009. "Job Insecurity and Well-Being: Moderation by Employability," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 10(6), pages 739-751, December.
    13. Yeh, Wan-Yu & Cheng, Yawen & Chen, Chiou-Jung, 2009. "Social patterns of pay systems and their associations with psychosocial job characteristics and burnout among paid employees in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(8), pages 1407-1415, April.
    14. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13646 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Antonio Rodríguez & Sunny Collings & Ping Qin, 2008. "Socio-economic differences in suicide risk vary by sex : A population-based case-control study of 18-65 year olds in Denmark," Development Research Working Paper Series 05/2008, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    16. Alice Sanwald & Engelbert Theurl, 2014. "Atypical Employment and Health: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers 2014-15, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    17. M. Haley & Laurie Miller, 2015. "Correlates of flexible working arrangements, stress, and sleep difficulties in the US workforce: does the flexibility of the flexibility matter?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 1395-1418, June.
    18. Elena Cottini & Paolo Ghinetti, 2016. "Employment insecurity and employees’ health in Denmark," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def045, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).


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