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      Precarious employment and self-reported experiences of unwanted sexual attention and sexual harassment at work. An analysis of the European Working Conditions Survey

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          Abstract

          Unwanted sexual attention (UWSA) and sexual harassment (SH) are prevalent experiences for women in working life and often accompanied by poor health. Despite increasing numbers especially of young people working in insecure and irregular employment settings, there is little empirical evidence if such precarious arrangements are associated with UWSA or SH. To investigate this, we used a representative sample of the European working population consisting of 63,966 employees in 33 countries who participated in the European Working Conditions Survey in 2010 or 2015. Precarious employment (PE) was assessed on the basis of seven indicators and a formative index derived from them: temporary employment, contractual duration < 1 year, schedule unpredictability, involuntary part-time, low information on occupational health and safety risks (OSH), low pay (wage < 60%), and multiple job-holding. We measured self-reported experiences of workplace UWSA during the last month and SH during the last 12 months each using a single-item questionnaire. Multi-level Poisson regressions were used to estimate prevalence ratios for UWSA and SH according to PE adjusted for survey year, age, education, type of household, migration background, job tenure, weekly working hours, occupational position, working sector, company size, workplace gender ratio, and visiting customers or clients. 0.8% of men reported UWSA in the last month and 2.6% of the women. SH in the last year was reported by 0.4% of the men and 1.3% of the women. For both men and women, PE was significantly associated with elevated prevalence of UWSA and SH, in particular when reporting schedule unpredictability, multiple job-holding and low information on OSH. Our results suggest that precariously employed individuals may be more prone to experience unwanted sexual behaviour at the workplace compared with workers in non-precarious settings.

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          Most cited references48

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          Alternatives for logistic regression in cross-sectional studies: an empirical comparison of models that directly estimate the prevalence ratio

          Background Cross-sectional studies with binary outcomes analyzed by logistic regression are frequent in the epidemiological literature. However, the odds ratio can importantly overestimate the prevalence ratio, the measure of choice in these studies. Also, controlling for confounding is not equivalent for the two measures. In this paper we explore alternatives for modeling data of such studies with techniques that directly estimate the prevalence ratio. Methods We compared Cox regression with constant time at risk, Poisson regression and log-binomial regression against the standard Mantel-Haenszel estimators. Models with robust variance estimators in Cox and Poisson regressions and variance corrected by the scale parameter in Poisson regression were also evaluated. Results Three outcomes, from a cross-sectional study carried out in Pelotas, Brazil, with different levels of prevalence were explored: weight-for-age deficit (4%), asthma (31%) and mother in a paid job (52%). Unadjusted Cox/Poisson regression and Poisson regression with scale parameter adjusted by deviance performed worst in terms of interval estimates. Poisson regression with scale parameter adjusted by χ2 showed variable performance depending on the outcome prevalence. Cox/Poisson regression with robust variance, and log-binomial regression performed equally well when the model was correctly specified. Conclusions Cox or Poisson regression with robust variance and log-binomial regression provide correct estimates and are a better alternative for the analysis of cross-sectional studies with binary outcomes than logistic regression, since the prevalence ratio is more interpretable and easier to communicate to non-specialists than the odds ratio. However, precautions are needed to avoid estimation problems in specific situations.
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            Adverse health effects of high-effort/low-reward conditions.

            J Siegrist (1996)
            In addition to the person-environment fit model (J. R. French, R. D. Caplan, & R. V. Harrison, 1982) and the demand-control model (R. A. Karasek & T. Theorell, 1990), a third theoretical concept is proposed to assess adverse health effects of stressful experience at work: the effort-reward imbalance model. The focus of this model is on reciprocity of exchange in occupational life where high-cost/low-gain conditions are considered particularly stressful. Variables measuring low reward in terms of low status control (e.g., lack of promotion prospects, job insecurity) in association with high extrinsic (e.g., work pressure) or intrinsic (personal coping pattern, e.g., high need for control) effort independently predict new cardiovascular events in a prospective study on blue-collar men. Furthermore, these variables partly explain prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, atherogenic lipids) in 2 independent studies. Studying adverse health effects of high-effort/low-reward conditions seems well justified, especially in view of recent developments of the labor market.
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              Precarious employment: understanding an emerging social determinant of health.

              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.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: MethodologyRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Funding acquisitionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Writing – review & editing
                Role: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Funding acquisitionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                28 May 2020
                2020
                : 15
                : 5
                : e0233683
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Institute of Medical Sociology, Centre for Health and Society, Medical Faculty, University of Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
                [2 ] Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority (INAIL), Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Hygiene, Monte Porzio Catone Rome, Rome, Italy
                [3 ] Department of Psychology, Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington, United States of America
                [4 ] Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
                [5 ] Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
                Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, ITALY
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8197-3618
                Article
                PONE-D-19-23544
                10.1371/journal.pone.0233683
                7255602
                32463826
                70429ac2-1ec6-433c-9132-b1f92ea64d1c
                © 2020 Reuter et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 21 August 2019
                : 11 May 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, Pages: 19
                Funding
                Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100007707, Istituto Nazionale per l'Assicurazione Contro Gli Infortuni sul Lavoro;
                Award ID: INAIL BRIC 2016 No. 47
                This work was supported by funding from the Italian National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work [grant number: INAIL BRIC 2016 No. 47]. The funder did not play any role in the study design, data analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Employment
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Employment
                Jobs
                People and Places
                Geographical Locations
                Europe
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Age Groups
                Children
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Families
                Children
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Human Sexual Behavior
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Behavior
                Human Sexual Behavior
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Salaries
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Research Design
                Survey Research
                Surveys
                Custom metadata
                The data underlying the results presented in the study are available from the UK Data Service ( https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/get-data.aspx) Single data files: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. European Working Conditions Survey, 2010. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 6971; 2012. doi: doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-6971-1 European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. European Working Conditions Survey, 2015. [data collection]. 4th Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 8098; 2017. doi: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-8098-4 Cumulated data file: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. (2018). European Working Conditions Survey Integrated Data File, 1991-2015. [data collection]. 7th Edition. UK Data Service. SN: 7363, http://doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-7363-7.

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