Psychosocial work factors and older workers’ health in Europe

Daniel Blanche


Using data from 15 European countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), I explore associations between several psychosocial work factors and self-perceived health among older workers (50 to 65 years old) (n=12,728). Drawing from the effort-reward imbalance and low control models, I hypothesise that (a) effort and reward factors are more relevant predictors of poor health reports than low control factors in Europe, and (b) that these associations are stronger in the less work-protective contexts of Eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries and weaker among the more protective Scandinavian and Continental Western Europe contexts. After several logistic regression analyses, results showed that reward factors were the most relevant predictors in three out of four regions; and that Scandinavian and Continental Western Europe countries yield the strongest work stress-poor health association. These findings highlight the importance of promoting tailor-made labour and health policies that enable older workers remain longer in the labour market in view of the increasing ageing of the population.


older workers; psychosocial work factors; work stress; self-rated health; Europe

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