Job Insecurity Is a Risk Factor for New Onset Diabetes

Health In Focus   - G J E 4
  • 'Insecurity of job' is considered more detrimental to health than unemployment.
  • The health consequences, both physical and psychological, of job insecurities are evident through self-reported health symptoms.
  • Previous studies have established a strong link between job insecurity and increase in body mass index (BMI).
  • Stress and all these other factors from such insecurity can lead to diabetes.
A positive association between job insecurity and modest increased risk of new onset diabetes has been determined using meta-analysis of individual level data on job insecurity that included many workers from different countries.
Job Insecurity Is a Risk Factor for New Onset Diabetes

In job insecurity there is a lack of assurance of job stability among the employees. Due to globalization and increased competition, in the last decade, many companies have been forced to introduce a number of temporary contracts, zero-hours contracts and other forms of flexible employment. This has increased job insecurity especially in high-income countries.

‘The company policies should be aimed at reducing the employees exposure to job insecurity and the healthcare personnel should be cognizant of the fact that people exposed to insecurities at workplace maybe at increased risk of developing diabetes.’
The health consequences, both physical and psychological, of job insecurities are evident through self-reported health symptoms.

Individuals with job insecurity experience high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and negative feelings. It lowers the level of positive feelings towards job and organization, reduces productivity and increases costs.

Job insecurity levels are high among the following groups:
  • Those who have lower levels of education in comparison to individuals with higher education or those who occupy high profiles at work.
  • Women, who take up temporary contracts, compared to men,
  • Those in the middle age group between 30 and 50, due to higher sense of responsibility.
  • More among single individuals compared to those who are married.
The prevalence of diabetes has increased steadily over recent decades, mostly owing to rising rates of obesity and aging populations. But there have been no published studies linking the association of job insecurity and diabetes.

A strong association between job insecurity and increase in body mass index (BMI)has been previously established which again is a strong risk factor for diabetes. In addition there is also dyslipidemia with this weight gain.

Another meta-analysis of individual data for 170 000 workers showed an association between job insecurity and clinically verified incident of coronary events.

For the current study published in the CMAJ, men and women from cohort studies, who were employed and free of diabetes at baseline were included. Their complete data on their job insecurity levels was also obtained.

Research team led by Dr. Jane E.Ferrie, used meta-analysis of individual participant data from 19 studies involving 140,825 participants from United States, Europe and Australia.

Participants who had prevalent diabetes at baseline were excluded. Diabetes at baseline was measured from hospital records, baseline glucose tolerance test and through self-reported questionnaires.

In the 8 studies from open-access data sets which included a total of 44,770 working women and men with data on age, sex, socioeconomic status, job insecurity and diabetes, questions were asked about the level of insecurity in a person's current job or about satisfaction with job security.

In the remaining11 studies which included a further 96,055 working women and men with suitable data, questions about the level of insecurity in the person's current job or about fear of layoff or unemployment were probed.

Of the 19 cohort studies, job insecurity was measured at baseline and the primary outcome was to study the occurrence of new onset diabetes over a follow up period. Overall, 3954 new onset diabetes occurred over a mean follow-up of 9.4 years. Among the workers who reported high-level of job insecurity, this indicates a 19% increase in the chance for new onset diabetes.

Limitation of the Study

The data used included 19 well-characterized prospective cohort studies from Australia, Unites States and several European countries. As a result these findings are more likely applicable to high-income countries.

Although the data was adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status and obesity, data on other factors like anxiety and weight-gain were not available during the follow-up period.

Few Tips to Cope with Job Insecurity

A person cannot change the insecurity that comes with jobs, but they can definitely change the way in which they react to it.
  • Learning new skills - It is always better to volunteer for any new programs or courses. It will increase your chances at securing new positions.
  • Increase your networking - It is always better to build connections with people and organizations so that it can be useful when it is needed.

    Some people might even enjoy the process of networking as it can be an opportunity to meet like-minded people who can understand the pressures faced at work.
  • Save up for a rainy day - Managing your money and saving up will help with financially security.
  • Prioritize your health - Many people tend to work extra hours for the fear of losing their jobs. In the process, they often forget to look after their health by skipping meals and indulging in habits like drinking and smoking which can be detrimental to both physical and mental health.

    For a healthy mind and body it is important for you to prioritize your health instead and eat regular healthy meals, exercise and get adequate sleep.
  • Give importance to mental health - Some people tend to be obsessive with their thoughts and hence are at higher risk of developing anxiety, depression and other mental conditions. Such individuals should seek professional help.
  • Write down your worries - Rather than drowning in a whirlwind of unrealistic worries and anxiety, it is always better to write down the thoughts. This gives a clearer picture of the situation.
  • Accept the situation - Accepting the situation helps you mentally prepare for the next step life has to offer.
  • Try to inspire yourself daily - Reading about or listening to things that take the mind away from the negative thoughts will help to distract and make you feel better.
  1. Job insecurity and health: A study of 16 European countries - (
  2. Top tips on coping with job insecurity - (

Source: Medindia

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