Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2022;48(5):351-360    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.4029 | Published online: 12 May 2022, Issue date: 01 Jul 2022

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

by Pollack R, Kreshpaj B, Jonsson J, Bodin T, Gunn V, Orellana C, Östergren P-O, Muntaner C, Matilla-Santander N

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.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2020;46(3):321-329  2020;46(3):235-247  2021;47(2):117-126  2021;47(7):509-520  2019;45(5):429-443
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