Job insecurity has been associated with impaired self-rated health (SRH) in cross-sectional studies, but prospective findings with short, medium and long-term follow-up yielded mixed findings. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess the long-term association between perceived job insecurity and SRH, after controlling for baseline levels of health status and life-style choices. Furthermore, three different follow-up periods (14, 19 and 24 years) were considered.
Data were derived from the prospective population-based MONICA/KORA cohort study (southern Germany). N = 4356 participants (2622 men and 1734 women), aged between 25 and 64 years at baseline, were included in the sample, mean follow-up was after 19.1 years. Job insecurity, SRH and risk factors were assessed at baseline during three independent surveys (1984–1995). SRH was additionally assessed in 2009. The association of job insecurity and impaired SRH at follow-up was estimated using logistic regression analyses.
Overall, perceiving job insecurity at baseline was significantly associated with a 20% higher risk of developing impaired SRH at follow-up in the pooled analysis (OR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.01–1.43, p = .034), even after controlling for baseline SRH, socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle, clinical and work-related factors. The association was strongest and significant after 14 years (OR = 1.58, 95% CI 1.17–2.13, p = .003) and weaker and not significant to 19 (OR = 1.20, 95% CI 0.89–1.62, p = .24) and 24 years (OR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.73–1.32, p = .89) of follow-up in the fully adjusted models.
We found that perceived job insecurity during working life was independently and significantly associated with impaired SRH both cross-sectionally as well as after 14 years, but not after 19 and 24 years.