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Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:229-53. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182500.

Precarious employment: understanding an emerging social determinant of health.

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1
Health Inequalities Research Group, Employment Conditions Knowledge Network (GREDS-EMCONET), Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona 08003, Spain; email: joan.benach@upf.edu , alvives@med.puc.cl , marcelo.amable@gmail.com , cvroelen@vub.ac.be , gemma.tarafa@upf.edu , carles.muntaner@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

Employment precariousness is a social determinant that affects the health of workers, families, and communities. Its recent popularity has been spearheaded by three main developments: the surge in "flexible employment" and its associated erosion of workers' employment and working conditions since the mid-1970s; the growing interest in social determinants of health, including employment conditions; and the availability of new data and information systems. This article identifies the historical, economic, and political factors that link precarious employment to health and health equity; reviews concepts, models, instruments, and findings on precarious employment and health inequalities; summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of this literature; and highlights substantive and methodological challenges that need to be addressed. We identify two crucial future aims: to provide a compelling research program that expands our understanding of employment precariousness and to develop and evaluate policy programs that effectively put an end to its health-related impacts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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