Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2023;49(7):506-517    pdf full text

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4109 | Published online: 27 Jul 2023, Issue date: 01 Oct 2023

Multidimensional employment precariousness mediates the association between low educational attainment and poor subjective well-being: results from a nationwide cross-sectional study in South Korea

by Baek S-U, Kim M-S, Lim M-H, Kim T, Won J-U, Yoon J-H

Objective This paper explored how multidimensional employment precariousness (MEP) mediates the relationship between educational attainment and subjective well-being.

Methods A nationwide sample of 46 919 Korean workers participated in surveys between 2017 and 2020. Educational attainment was divided into four categories: elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. Subjective well-being was assessed using the 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index, and MEP was evaluated using a modified version of the Employment Precariousness Scale (ERPES-E), with scores ranging from 0 to 100 and higher scores indicating worse employment precariousness. A counterfactual-based logistic mediation analyses were used to estimation.

Results The mean MEP score was 36.0 [standard deviation (SD) 12.1] for college education, 44.3 (SD 11.5) for high school, 49.5 (SD 10.1) for middle school, and 51.1 (SD 10.0) for elementary school. The prevalence of poor subjective well-being was 24.0% for college education, 31.3% for high school, 40.6% for middle school, and 44.8% for elementary school. Odds ratios (OR) for the total effect of education on the poor subjective well-being were 1.44 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37–1.53] for high school, 2.19 (95% CI 1.98–2.24) for middle school, and 2.40 (95% CI 2.04–2.82) for elementary school when compared to college education. The OR for the indirect effect mediated through MEP were 1.27 (95% CI 1.25–1.29) for high school, 1.46 (95% CI 1.42–1.51) for middle school, and 1.53 (95% CI 1.48–1.59) for elementary school, accounting for 63.9%, 48.5%, and 48.6% of the total effect, respectively.

Conclusion Our study suggests that MEP is an important contributor to the disparities in subjective well-being resulting from educational gradients.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2015;41(4):329-337  2019;45(5):429-443  2021;47(2):117-126  2021;47(3):171-180  2021;47(7):509-520
Download additional material