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Summary: In all European regions, workers with lower education level had higher risks of leaving paid employment due to disability benefits and unemployment, when compared with those with higher education. From our study, the role of poor health in the exit from paid employment seems to be bigger among individuals with low education level. These results implied policy measures are needed to reduce educational inequalities in exit from paid employment due to poor health.

Authors: Schuring M, Schram JLD, Robroek S, Burdorf A.

Journal:  Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health

Year of publication: 2019

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Cite this paper: Schuring M, Schram JLD, Robroek SJW, Burdorf A, The contribution of health to educational inequalities in exit from paid employment in five European regions, Scand J Work Environ Health, online-first-article, doi:10.5271/sjweh.3796



Summary: The study investigates the trends in health-related inequalities in paid employment among men and women in different educational groups in 26 countries in 5 European regions. Participants with a chronic illness had consistently lower labor force participation than those without illnesses. Educational inequalities were substantial with absolute differences larger within lower educated than within higher educated. Relative differences showed that low-educated men with a chronic illness were 1.4–1.9 times (women 1.3–1.8 times) more likely to be out of paid employment than low-educated persons without a chronic illness, whereas this was 1.1–1.2 among high-educated men and women. In the Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and Eastern regions, these health-related educational inequalities in paid employment were more pronounced than in the Continental and Southern region. For most regions, absolute health-related educational inequalities in paid employment were generally constant, whereas relative inequalities increased, especially among low-educated persons. Conclusions Men and women with a chronic illness have considerably less access to the labor market than their healthy colleagues, especially among lower educated persons. This exclusion from paid employment will increase health inequalities.

Authors: Schram J.; Schuring M.; Oude Hengel K.; Burdorf A.

Journal: BMJ

Year of publication: 2019

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Cite this paper:

Schram JLDSchuring MOude Hengel KM, et al. Health-related educational inequalities in paid employment across 26 European countries in 2005–2014: repeated cross-sectional study.

Summary: The study aimed to investigate the relative and absolute risks of early exit from paid employment among older workers with a chronic disease, and to assess whether these risks differ across educational groups. We found that workers with one chronic disease had a higher risk to exit paid employment through disability benefits compared with workers without chronic disease, and this risk further increased for multiple chronic diseases. As the occurrence of chronic diseases was highest among low educated workers, the 7-year probabilities to exit paid employment through disability benefits were highest among this group. Cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, psychological and respiratory diseases were associated with disability benefits, whereas psychological diseases were also related to unemployment. Older workers with a chronic disease have a higher risk to exit paid employment through disability benefits. As multimorbidity has an additive effect, addressing multimorbidity as a risk factor for sustainable employment is needed.

Authors: Oude Hengel K.; Robroek SJW; Eekhout I; van der Beek EJ; Burdorf A.

Journal: BMJ

Year of publication: 2019

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Cite this paper:

 Oude Hengel K, Robroek SJW, Eekhout I, et al. Occup Environ Med Epub ahead of print: [please include Day Month Year]. doi:10.1136/oemed-2019-105788

This study provides evidence that entering paid employment has a positive impact on self-reported health; thus work should be considered as an important part of health promotion programs among unemployed persons.

Authors: Schuring M, Robroek SJ, Burdorf A

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of  Work, Environment & Health

Year of publication: 2017

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Cite this paper: Scand J Work Environ Health 2017;43(6):540-549

Summary: High exposure to organic solvents increased the risk for disability pension in neurological disorders, and the risk decreased when the use of organic solvents decreased. The painters also had an increased risk of disability pension due to psychiatric disorders, but the causes have to be further investigated.

Authors: Järvholm B, Burdorf A.

Journal: Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Year of publication: 2017

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Cite this paper: Järvholm BBurdorf A, Effect of reduced use of organic solvents on disability pension in painters, 

There are considerable variations in the incidence rate of disability pension over time, with different patterns depending on age and diagnosis. Changes in social insurance legislation, as well as in administration processes, seem to influence the variation. But the study also shows variations that do not seem to be associated with social policy reforms and changes. In order to understand the large variety in disability pension incidence rates, the executive role of implementing and applying new rules by social security agents should also be taken into account. Social security officers play a crucial role, as operators in a partly arbitrary system. Although there is pressure to follow the law, abide by political incentives, and provide the best possible welfare for clients, there is also a certain margin for action and decision-making at the administrative, executive level. Thus, our findings raise debate about whether the system includes all policyholders on equal terms or if the system over time is adjusted in relation to varying social/organizational norms, practical considerations, and societal economics rather than medical needs and formal rules, and consequently whether the welfare system fulfills legal certainty.

Authors: Mia Söderberg, Ruth Mannelqvist, Bengt Järvholm, Linus Schiöler, Mikael Stattin
Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health

Year of publication: 2018

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