In the literature, an increase in precarious work in Luxembourg as well as in other countries, has been associated to poor health. Therefore, the Occupational Health Physicians of the “Service de Santé au Travail Multisectoriel” (STM), considering the comfortable financial situation during unemployment in Luxembourg, compared the health and lifestyle data of precarious workers to those with stable work.
This cross-sectional study involved 1472 workers (910 in stable and 562 in precarious work), who were examined at the STM in 2019. Lifestyle and health were self-reported by the workers. The qualitative variables (frequencies and percentage) related to demographic, health, lifestyle and employment factors were analyzed in each group. Pearson’s chi-square test was used to compare both groups and multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the associations between health issues (cardiovascular, mental health, musculoskeletal disorders [MSD]) and employment contract type.
Regarding lifestyle, there were significant differences in age, tobacco smoking, type of work, and mental health disorders between the two groups. Precarious workers had a higher prevalence of poor health in the entire sample. As for mental health disorders, the prevalence was significantly higher in precarious than in stable work (8.5% vs 4.1%, p<0.0001). The difference was not significant in both groups for cardiovascular (6.9% vs 5.8%) and musculoskeletal (15.1% vs 13.7%) disorders. Multivariate logistic regression for the total sample revealed a positive association of precarious work and poor health. The odds ratios were 2.36 (CI: 1.50-3.73) for mental health 1.37 (CI: 0.87-2.17) for cardiovascular, and 1.04 (CI: 0.76-1.43) for musculoskeletal disorders. The association was significant only for mental health disorders. The results by gender showed up a higher risk for mental disorders for women in precarious work (OR=3.41, CI: 1.43-7.82) than for men (OR= 2.99, CI: 1.33-6.74). Men in precarious work had a positive association for cardio-vascular disorders (OR =1.84, CI: 1.03-3.29), and women a negative one (OR= 0.88, CI: 0.40-1.95).
Our study revealed an association between precarious work and poor health. For mental health, this association was significant for both genders, but particularly so for women. Cardiovascular disorders were positively significantly associated only for men.