Work disability following major organisational change: the Whitehall II study.
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Privatisation and private sector practices have been increasingly applied to the public sector in many industrialised countries. Over the same period, long-term work disability has risen substantially. We examined whether a major organisational change--the transfer of public sector work to executive agencies run on private sector lines--was associated with an increased risk of work disability. METHODS: The study uses self-reported data from the prospective Whitehall II cohort study. Associations between transfer to an executive agency assessed at baseline (1991-1994) and work disability ascertained over a period of approximately 8 years at three follow-up surveys (1995-1996, 1997-1999 and 2001) were examined using Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS: In age- and sex-adjusted models, risk of work disability was higher among the 1263 employees who were transferred to an executive agency (HR 1.90, 95% CI 1.46 to 2.48) compared with the 3419 employees whose job was not transferred. These findings were robust to additional adjustment for physical and mental health and health behaviours at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: Increased work disability was observed among employees exposed to the transfer of public sector work to executive agencies run on private sector lines. This may highlight an unintentional cost for employees, employers and society.
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ABSTRACT: Since August 1988 an increasing proportion of the executive functions of government in the United Kingdom have been devolved to executive agencies. Transfer to an executive agency involves a period of uncertainty during which the options of elimination or transfer to the private sector are considered, followed by a marked change in management style and further periods of uncertainty when the agency's function is reconsidered for transfer to the private sector. This paper examines the effects of this major organisational change and consequent job insecurity on the health status of a cohort of 7419 white-collar civil servants by comparing groups either exposed to or anticipating exposure to this stressor, with controls experiencing no change. Compared with controls, men both already working in and anticipating transfer to an executive agency experienced significant increases in health self-rated as "average or worse", longstanding illness, adverse sleep patterns, mean number of symptoms in the fortnight before questionnaire completion, and minor psychiatric morbidity. Significant relative increases in body mass index were seen in both exposure groups while exposure to agency status was also associated with significant relative increases in blood pressure. Health-related behaviours, where they differed between exposure and control groups, tended to favour those in the exposure groups. Compared with controls, women in both exposure groups reported small increases in most self-reported morbidity measures and most clinical measurements, accompanied by slight beneficial changes in some health-related behaviours and small adverse changes in others. Significant relative increases were seen in mean number of symptoms, and ischaemia among women anticipating exposure and in body mass index among those exposed to agency status. Policy makers should be aware of the wider consequences of job insecurity when considering the efficiency of changes in employment policy.Social Science [?] Medicine 01/1998; 46(2):243-254. · 2.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is little knowledge about disability pensions (DPs) in psychiatric diagnoses. The aim of this study was to analyse risk factors among men for receiving an early disability pension with a psychiatric diagnosis. The study is based on data from a nationwide survey of 49 285 young Swedish men who were conscripted into military service in 1969/1970. Potential psychosocial and behavioural risk factors were linked to records from the Swedish Social Insurance Board up until 1993. The majority (63.4%) of the men granted a DP during follow-up had a psychiatric diagnosis as the main and/or secondary diagnosis. Among those conscripts analysed (41 702), 599 had been granted a disability pension with a psychiatric diagnosis. Of these, 35.4% had a diagnosis of psychosis, 23.2% an alcohol- or drug-related diagnosis, and 41.4% 'other' psychiatric diagnosis. Receiving a psychiatric diagnosis at conscription, showing low emotional control, unemployment after graduation, and ranking low on an "IQ" test were strong predictors of all categories of DP with psychiatric diagnoses. In multivariate analysis controlling for the effect of all other risk indicators included in the model, DP with non-alcohol- and non-drug-related psychiatric diagnoses was related to low social support at adolescence but not to signs of extrovert deviant behaviour (risky use of alcohol or contact with police and child authorities). In contrast, DP with an alcohol- or drug-related diagnosis had strong associations with signs of extrovert deviant behaviour. The risk pattern of DP without psychiatric diagnoses was similar to that of DP with a psychosis but also, though to a lesser extent, to that of DP with 'other' psychiatric diagnosis. These similarities could be interpreted as showing that the diagnoses on the records of disability pensions have a low sensitivity and/or specificity or, alternatively, that the risk factors found are risk factors for life careers steering toward a disability pension rather than toward the specific health outcomes per se. The results illustrate the importance of psychosocial factors established in late adolescence in the complex pathway of a decision of an early DP.Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 11/1999; 34(10):533-40. · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The literature on the relationship between work-related psychosocial factors and the development of ischemic heart disease (IHD) was systematically reviewed: 33 articles presented 51 analyses of studies involving male participants, 18 analyses involving female participants, and 8 analyses with both genders. Twenty of the studies originated in the Nordic countries, and the major dimensions of the Demand-Control Model were the focus of 23 articles. A balanced evaluation of the studies indicates moderate evidence that high psychologic demands, lack of social support, and iso-strain are risk factors for IHD among men. Studies performed during recent years have not shown evidence for lack of control as a risk factor for IHD. Several studies have shown that job strain is a risk factor, but in the more recent ones, these associations can be fully explained by the association between demands and disease risk. Insufficient evidence was found for a relationship between IHD and effort-reward imbalance, injustice, job insecurity, or long working hours. Studies involving women are too few to draw any conclusion concerning women, work stress, and IHD.Cardiology in review 01/2009; 17(2):83-97.