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Exposure to Nonpermanent Employment and Health: Analysis of the Associations With 12 Health Indicators

Virtanen, Pekka MD, PhD; Janlert, Urban; Hammarström, Anne

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: June 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue 6 - p 653–657
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821b7afd
Original Articles

Objective: To clarify the associations of nonpermanent employment with poor health in longitudinal setting with different health outcomes.

Methods: A population cohort (n = 1071) was surveyed at the age of 30 and then again at the age of 42. They were classified according to exposure to nonpermanent employment. The outcomes included indicators of mental and somatic health and health behavior.

Results: When adjusted for baseline level of the outcome under study, the odds ratio of the heavily exposed was 1.90 (1.25 to 2.88) for nervous symptoms, 1.77 (1.03 to 2.05) for psychological distress, and 1.52 (1.03 to 2.25) for suboptimal mood. Among the lightly exposed, the odds ratio for psychological distress was 1.94 (1.10 to 2.10).

Conclusions: Psychological distress is particularly sensitive to exposure to nonpermanent employment. The effects on somatic health or health behavior should be studied only with carefully specified hypotheses.

From the School of Health Sciences (Dr Virtanen), University of Tampere, Finland; and Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine (Mr Janlert and Ms Hammarström), University of Umeå, Sweden.

Address correspondence to: Pekka Virtanen, MD, PhD, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, FIN 3014 (

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine