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Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare Bambra
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In this article we ask whether the level of sickness benefit provision protects the health of employees, particularly those who are most exposed to hazardous working conditions or who have a little education. The study uses the European Working Condition Survey that includes information on 20,626 individuals from 28 countries. Health was measured by self-reported mental wellbeing and self-rated general health. Country-level sickness benefit provision was constructed using spending data from Eurostat. Group-specific associations were fitted using cross-level interaction terms between sickness benefit provision and physical and psychosocial working conditions respectively, as well as those with little education. The mental wellbeing of employees exposed to psychosocial job strain and physical hazards, or who had little education, was better in countries that offer more generous sickness benefit. These results were found in both men and women and were robust to the inclusion of GDP and country fixed effects. In the analyses of self-reported general health, few group-specific associations were found. This article concludes that generous sickness benefit provision may strengthen employee's resilience against mental health risks at work and risks associated with little education. Consequently, in countries with a generous provision of sickness benefit, social inequalities in mental health are smaller.
Author(s): Van-der-Wel K, Bambra C, Dragano N, Eikemo T, Lunau T
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Sociology of Health & Illness
Print publication date: 01/11/2015
Online publication date: 22/06/2015
Acceptance date: 01/01/2015
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
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