Social Indicators Research

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 233–252 | Cite as

On the Relationship Between Atypical Work(s) and Mental Health: New Insights from the Italian Case

  • Elena PiraniEmail author


The new forms of atypical contracts increasingly diffused beside standard permanent full-time employment has been argued being detrimental for workers’ mental health. Despite a growing body of studies is now appearing on the topic, they generally fail to recognize that atypical workers represent a heterogeneous group. This study addresses such oversight for Italy by scrutinizing the association between four major domains of mental health—vitality, social functioning, role emotional, and general mental health—and six types of atypical contract—temporary, casual, part-time by choice permanent, part-time by choice temporary, not chosen part-time permanent, and not chosen part-time temporary. First, we find that mental health is compromised by atypical working arrangements depending on the specific atypical contract considered. Second, we verify that the choice of the atypical experience is relevant in shaping the relationship with mental health (a novelty for Italy). Third, we prove that, regardless the type of contract, variations across mental health outcomes exist. We conclude that more reflection is needed when designing studies on atypical works and their consequences on workers’ well-being.


Atypical employment Precariousness Well-being By choice 



The Author would like to thank the chair and the participants of the session “Well-being” of the Italian Association for Population Studies Conference in 2015 (Palermo, Italy) for their useful feedback. The Author also gratefully acknowledges Valentina Tocchioni and Daniele Vignoli for their valuable comments and suggestions on earlier versions of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni “G. Parenti” – DiSIAUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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