A study conducted by Karolinska Institutet has found that individuals with unstable job contracts can reduce their risk of premature death by 20% by transitioning to permanent employment. The study, published in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Reports, highlights the need for improved job security in Sweden. Precarious employment, characterized by short contracts, low wages, and a lack of influence and rights, creates unpredictability and insecurity in the workplace.

The researchers analyzed registry data from over 250,000 workers in Sweden, aged 20 to 55, over a period spanning from 2005 to 2017. The study included individuals who initially worked in insecure conditions but later shifted to more secure employment. Those who made this transition experienced a 20% lower risk of premature death, irrespective of subsequent career developments.

In the present study, the researchers have examined how this affects the risk of death. “This is the first study to show that changing from precarious employment to secure employment can reduce the risk of death,” states the paper’s last author Theo Bodin, assistant professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet. “It’s the same as saying that the risk of early death is higher if one keeps working in jobs without a secure employment contract.”

Furthermore, the study revealed that if individuals remained in secure employment for 12 years, their risk of premature death decreased by an even more significant 30%. Dr. Matilla-Santander, one of the researchers, indicated that the next phase of their research will focus on exploring the specific causes of mortality associated with employment conditions.

“Using this large population database allowed us to take account of many factors that could influence mortality, such as age, other diseases that workers can suffer from or life changes like divorce,” describes Nuria Matilla-Santander, assistant professor at the same institute and the study’s first author.

“Because of the methods we used, we can be relatively certain that the difference in mortality is due to the precariousness of employment rather than individual factors.” She continues: “The results are important since they show that the elevated mortality rate observed in workers can be avoided. If we reduce precariousness in the labour market, we can avoid premature deaths in Sweden.”

It’s important to note that the study’s primary funding came from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare (Forte), and the researchers reported no conflicts of interest. These findings underscore the importance of job security in improving overall well-being and longevity for workers with unstable job contracts.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.

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