Low-quality employment trajectories and the risk of common mental health disorders among individuals with Swedish and foreign background - a register-based cohort study

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  • Roxana Pollack
  • Kreshpaj, Bertina
  • Johanna Jonsson
  • Theo Bodin
  • Virginia Gunn
  • Cecilia Orellana
  • Per-Olof Östergren
  • Carles Muntaner
  • Nuria Matilla-Santander

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the effects of low-quality employment trajectories on severe common mental disorders (CMD) according to Swedish and foreign background.

METHODS: In this longitudinal study based on Swedish population registries (N=2 703 687), low- and high-quality employment trajectories were the main exposures observed across five years (2005-2009), with severe CMD as outcome variable (2010-2017). Adjusted hazard ratios (HR) were calculated by means of Cox regression models and stratified according to Swedish and foreign background [first-generation (i) EU migrants, (ii) non-EU migrants, (iii) second-generation migrants, (iv) Swedish-born of Swedish background] and sex. The reference group was Swedish-born of Swedish background in a constant high-quality employment trajectory.

RESULTS: Second-generation migrants had an increased risk of CMD compared to Swedish-born of Swedish background when following low-quality employment trajectories [eg, male in constant low-quality HR 1.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.41-1.68]. Female migrant workers, especially first-generation from non-EU countries in low-quality employment trajectories (eg, constant low-quality HR 1.66, 95% CI 1.46-1.88), had a higher risk of CMD compared to female Swedish-born of Swedish background. The risk for CMD according to employment trajectories showed little differences between first- and second-generation migrants.

CONCLUSION: Low-quality employment trajectories appear to be determinants of risk for CMD in association with Swedish or foreign background of origin and sex. Our study shows a higher risk for severe CMD in second-generation and non-EU migrant compared to Swedish-born of Swedish background in constant low-quality employment. Further qualitative research is recommended to understand the mechanism behind the differential mental health impact of low-quality employment trajectories according to foreign background.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian journal of work, environment & health
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)351-360
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Cohort Studies, Employment, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Mental Disorders/epidemiology, Mental Health, Sweden/epidemiology

ID: 327060472