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Perceived Job Insecurity, Job Predictability, Personality, and Health

Lau, Bjørn PhDa; Knardahl, Stein MD, PhDa,b

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 2 - p 172-181
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31815c89a1
Original Articles

Objective: The present study sought to determine whether job insecurity is associated with personality traits and beliefs. In addition, it was tested whether aspects of personality confounded the relationships between job insecurity and health, or moderated this association.

Methods: At the first data collection, 5163 persons participated, and at the second data collection, 1946 persons of a random sample participated. Data were obtained from Oslo Health Study.

Results: The job insecurity aspect concerning confidence in having a good job in 2 years was more strongly related to the health variables, and particularly with mental distress, compared with other aspects of job insecurity. Type-A behavior predicted an increase in upper back pain (β 0.07), while optimism predicted a change in lower back pain (β −0.07).

Conclusions: Job insecurity is associated with health; this association is strongest for mental distress and self-reported health, and weaker for back-pain.

From the aNational Institute of Occupational Health (Dr Lau and Dr Knardahl), Oslo, Norway; and bInstitute of Psychology (Dr Knardahl), University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Address correspondence to: Bjørn Lau, PhD, National Institute of Occupational Health, PO Box 8149 Dep., NO-0033 Oslo, Norway, E-mail:

©2008The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine