Are All Jobs Good for Your Health? The Impact of Work Status and Working Conditions on Mental Health

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Abstract:

This chapter presents new evidence on the evolution of work‐related mental illness in OECD countries and on the role that new work patterns have played in affecting it. Despite the steep rise in disability benefit receipt for mental illness in many countries, available indicators do not suggest an overall increase in mental health problems among the working‐age population across the OECD area. However, mental health appears to have worsened in certain countries and for certain workforce groups, while the reported incidence of certain potentially stressful working conditions has increased in Europe. Longitudinal analysis for individual workers in five countries shows that non‐employment generally is worse for mental health than working and that the mental‐health payoff to employment varies depending on the type of job contract and working conditions, and pre‐existing mental health problems. In particular, the mental health benefits for inactive individuals who obtain a "non‐standard" job appear to be smaller than for those moving into standard employment arrangements, especially for persons with preexisting mental health problems.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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