Navigation and service

Fixed-term contract positions, unemployment and mental ill health: a Danish cohort study

Background: Both perceived job insecurity and unemployment has been associated with an increased risk of developing mental ill health. It has, moreover, been proposed that an insecure employment may be as detrimental as unemployment itself.

Objective: To estimate incidence rate ratios (RRs) of (i) redeemed prescriptions for psychotropic drugs and (ii) psychiatric hospital treatment due to mood, anxiety, or stress-related disease, among fixed-term contract workers (as an operationalization of insecure job) vs. unemployed, in the general population of Denmark.

Methods: Data on baseline employment status were drawn from the Danish Labor Force Surveys in the years 2001-2013. Participants (10,265 fixed-term contract workers and 7926 unemployed) were followed for up to 5 years in national registers (2439 cases of psychotropic drug use, 71,516 person years; 311 cases of psychiatric hospital treatment, 86,790 person years). Adjusted RRs were obtained by Poisson regression. We aspired to minimize health selection effects by (i) exclusion of survey participants who received sickness benefits, social security cash benefits, psychiatric hospital treatment or a prescription for psychotropic drugs, within 1-year prior to baseline (n = 11,693), (ii) adjustment for age, gender, level of education, calendar year, disposable family income and maternity/paternity benefits within 1-year prior to baseline.

Results: The adjusted RR for fixed-term contract workers vs. unemployed was 0.98 (99.5% CI: 0.87-1.11) for psychotropic drugs and 0.93 (99.5% CI: 0.67-1.30) for psychiatric hospital treatment.

Conclusion: The present study did not find significant differences in the risk of developing mental ill health between fixed-term contract workers and unemployed, and thus suggests that fixed-term contracts may be as detrimental as unemployment.

The complete article is published in the Journal "BMC Public Health" (2022).

Bibliographic information

H. Hannerz, H. Burr, H. Soll‑Johanning, M. L. Nielsen, A. H. Garde, M.‑A. Flyvholm:
Fixed-term contract positions, unemployment and mental ill health: a Danish cohort study. 
in: BMC Public Health 2022. pages 1-13, Project number: F 2462, PDF file, DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/s12889-022-14137-1

download file "Fixed-term contract positions, unemployment and mental ill health: a Danish cohort study" (PDF, 1 MB, Not barrier-free file)

Research Project

Project numberF 2462 StatusOngoing Project Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 4: Mental health and work participation

Find out more : Project bundle: Longitudinal study of mental health at work (S-MGA II) - Project component 4: Mental health and work participation …

Cookies help us to provide our services. By using our website you agree that we can use cookies. Read more about our Privacy Policy and visit the following link: Privacy Policy

OK