Employment insecurity and mental health during the economic recession: An analysis of the young adult labour force in Italy

Francesca Fiori*, Francesca Rinesi, Daniele Spizzichino, Ginevra Di Giorgio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and objective: A growing body of scientific literature highlights the negative consequences of employment insecurity on several life domains. This study focuses on the young adult labour force in Italy, investigating the relationship between employment insecurity and mental health and whether this has changed after years of economic downturn. It enhances understanding by addressing differences in mental health according to several employment characteristics; and by exploring the role of respondents' economic situation and educational level.

Data and methods: Data from a large-scale, nationally representative health survey are used to estimate the relationship between employment insecurity and the Mental Health Inventory (MHI), by means of multiple linear regressions.

Results and conclusions: The study demonstrates that employment insecurity is associated with poorer mental health. Moreover, neither temporary workers nor unemployed individuals are a homogeneous group. Previous job experience is important in differentiating the mental health risks of unemployed individuals; and the effects on mental health vary according to occupational status and to the amount of time spent in a condition of insecurity. Further, the experience of financial difficulties partly explains the relationship between employment insecurity and mental health; and different mental health outcomes depend on respondents' educational level. Lastly, the risks of reporting poorer mental health were higher in 2013 than in 2005.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume153
Early online date9 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Employment insecurity
  • Mental health
  • Young adult labour force
  • Italy
  • Economic recession
  • SELF-REPORTED HEALTH
  • TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT
  • JOB INSECURITY
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS
  • PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT
  • FLEXIBLE EMPLOYMENT
  • GREAT RECESSION
  • WHITEHALL-II
  • UNEMPLOYMENT
  • IMPACT

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