Association of Job Insecurity with Health Risk Factors and Poorer Health in American Workers


Perceived job insecurity and health risk factors have not been well studied in the United States (US) workforce. The purpose of this study was to assess the association of specific health risk factors and morbidities with perceived job insecurity in a large national random sample of working adults in the US. The National Health Interview Survey data were analyzed for this study. We computed the prevalence of perceived job insecurity by demographic characteristics and tested the relative association between perceived job insecurity and selected health risk factors using logistic regression analysis with adjusted odds ratios (AORs). A total of 17,441 working adults were included in the study: 75 % Whites, 51.5 % females, 73.3 % worked for a private company, and 82.6 % were 25–64 years of age. One in three (33 %) workers perceived their job to be insecure. Those who reported job insecurity had significantly higher odds of: being obese, sleeping less than 6 h/day, smoking every day, having work loss days >2 weeks, and worsening of general health in the past year. Job insecure individuals had a likelihood of serious mental illness within the past 30 days almost five times higher than those who were not job insecure. In addition, job insecure individuals were significantly more likely to report pain conditions (i.e. headaches, neck pain, and low back pain), and lifetime histories of having ulcers, diabetes, hypertension, angina pectoris, and coronary heart diseases. Job insecurity is associated with poor health and health risk behaviors in American adults. Potential interventions to address job insecurity and improve the health and well-being of working adults have been discussed based on study findings.

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Authors thank the National Center for Health Statistics for providing the data.

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Correspondence to Jagdish Khubchandani.

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Khubchandani, J., Price, J.H. Association of Job Insecurity with Health Risk Factors and Poorer Health in American Workers. J Community Health 42, 242–251 (2017).

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  • Job insecurity
  • Health behavior
  • Stress
  • Chronic disease
  • Health risk factors
  • Occupational health
  • Occupational psychology