All Part of the Job? The contribution of the Psychosocial and Physical Work Environment to Health Inequalities in Europe and the European Health Divide

Author(s)

Publication date

2014

Document type

Abstract

This study is the first to examine the contribution of both psychosocial and physical risk factors to occupational inequalities in self-assessed health in Europe. Data from 27 countries were obtained from the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey for men and women aged 16 to 60 (n = 21,803). Multilevel logistic regression analyses (random intercept) were applied, estimating odds ratios of reporting less than good health. Analyses indicate that physical working conditions account for a substantial proportion of occupational inequalities in health in both Central/Eastern and Western Europe. Physical, rather than psychosocial, working conditions seem to have the largest effect on self-assessed health in manual classes. For example, controlling for physical working conditions reduced the inequalities in the prevalence of "less than good health" between the lowest (semi- and unskilled manual workers) and highest (higher controllers) occupational groups in Europe by almost 50 percent (Odds Ratio 1.87, 95% Confidence Interval 1.62-2.16 to 1.42, 1.23-1.65). Physical working conditions contribute substantially to health inequalities across "post-industrial" Europe, with women in manual occupations being particularly vulnerable, especially those living in Central/Eastern Europe. An increased political and academic focus on physical working conditions is needed to explain and potentially reduce occupational inequalities in health.

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publishedVersion

Permanent URL (for citation purposes)

  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/5632