Joan Benach

Korea University, Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

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Publications (176)401.25 Total impact

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    Mireia Julià, Gemma Tarafa, Joan Benach
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    ABSTRACT: This factsheet summarises the main findings of a literature review – Labour market flexibility in Europe: Informal employment, employment policies and their impact on health equity – which looked at:  how informal employment is defined and measured in high-income countries  the prevalence of informal employment in high-income countries  which employment-related policies (related to unemployment, precarious and informal employment) have been implemented in the European Union, and  the impact of these policies on health inequalities.
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Annual Review of Public Health 03/2014; 35:229-253. · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background : Women experience poorer health than men despite their longer life expectancy, due to a higher prevalence of non-fatal chronic illnesses. This paper aims to explore whether the unequal gender distribution of roles and resources can account for inequalities in general self-rated health (SRH) by gender, across social classes, in a Southern European population. Methods : Cross-sectional study of residents in Catalonia aged 25-64, using data from the 2006 population living conditions survey (n=5,817). Poisson regression models were used to calculate the fair/poor SRH prevalence ratio (PR) by gender and to estimate the contribution of variables assessing several dimensions of living conditions as the reduction in the PR after their inclusion in the model. Analyses were stratified by social class (non-manual and manual). Results : SRH was poorer for women among both non-manual (PR 1.39, 95% CI 1.09-1.76) and manual social classes (PR 1.36, 95% CI 1.20-1.56). Adjustment for individual income alone eliminated the association between sex and SRH, especially among manual classes (PR 1.01, 95% CI 0.85-1.19; among non-manual 1.19, 0.92-1.54). The association was also reduced when adjusting by employment conditions among manual classes, and household material and economic situation, time in household chores and residential environment among non-manual classes. Discussion : Gender inequalities in individual income appear to contribute largely to women's poorer health. Individual income may indicate the availability of economic resources, but also the history of access to the labour market and potentially the degree of independence and power within the household. Policies to facilitate women's labour market participation, to close the gender pay gap, or to raise non-contributory pensions may be helpful to improve women's health.
    Global Health Action 01/2014; 7:23189. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report provides an in-depth analysis of the quality of employment conditions and employment relations in the European employed workforce. Employment in the report is viewed as the contractual relationship between an employer and a worker, specifically how the rights and duties embedded into the relationship are translated into real rights. The analysis is mainly based on data from the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), conducted in 2010. Where appropriate, comparisons with earlier waves of the EWCS are made. An executive summary is also available.
    12/2013; Eurofound.
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    ABSTRACT: The objectives of this study were to examine for the first time the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness among adults in Spain, to explore regional differences, and to assess whether they may vary as a function of sex or be explained by age and individual or regional socioeconomic position. Data were obtained from the 2008 Spanish Survey on Disability, Personal Autonomy, and Dependency Situations, a cross-sectional survey based on a representative sample of the noninstitutionalized population of Spain. The sample was composed of 213 626 participants aged ≥15 years (103 093 men and 110 533 women); 360 were blind (160 men and 200 women), 4048 had near visual impairment (1397 men and 2651 women), and 4034 had distance visual impairment (1445 men and 2589 women). The prevalence of near and distance visual impairment was calculated for each region. Multiple logistic regression models were fitted to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. All analyses were stratified by sex. Visual impairment was based on 3 questions aimed at identifying blindness and near and distance visual impairment. The prevalence (percentage) of blindness was 0.17 (men, 0.16; women, 0.18): 1.89 for near visual impairment (men, 1.36; women, 2.40), 1.89 for distance visual impairment (men, 1.40; women, 2.34), and 2.43 for any visual impairment (men, 1.81; women, 3.02). Regional inequalities in the prevalence of visual impairment were observed, correlated with regional income, and the prevalence was consistently higher among women than men. The magnitude of the inequalities remained after adjusting for age and educational level, and a north-to-south pattern of increasing prevalence was observed. Regional and sex inequalities in the prevalence of visual impairment and blindness were observed in Spain, with a north-to-south gradient of increasing prevalence that was not explained by age or individual educational level but was correlated with regional level of economic development. Factors that could be prioritized for future policies and research include differential regional economic development, rural environment, quality of eye care services, diabetes, ultraviolet light exposure, or gender inequalities in diagnostic and therapeutic health care. The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
    Ophthalmology 09/2013; · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Self-perceived class results from directly questioning subjects about his or her social class. The aim of this investigation was to analyse self-perceived class in relation to other indicator variables of socioeconomic level.Methods Data from the 1994 Catalan Health Interview Survey, a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of the non-institutionalised population of Catalonia was used. We conducted a discriminant analysis to compute the degree of right classification when different socioeconomic variables potentially related to self-perceived class were considered. All subjects who directly answered the questionnaire were included (N = 12,245). With the aim of obtaining the discriminant functions in a group of subjects and to validate it in another one, the subjects were divided into two random samples, containing approximately 75% and 25% of subjects (analysis sample, n = 9,248; and validation sample, n = 2,997).ResultsThe final function for men and women included level of education, social class (based in occupation) and equivalent income. This function correctly classified 40.9% of the subjects in the analysis sample and 39.2% in the validation sample. Two other functions were selected for men and women separately. In men, the function included level of education, professional category, and family income (39.2% of classification in analysis sample and 37.2% in validation sample). In women, the function (level of education, working status, and equivalent income) correctly classified 40.3% of women in analysis sample whereas the percentage was 38.9% in validation sample. The percentages of right classification were higher for the highest and lowest classes.Conclusion These results show the utility of a simple variable to self-position within the social scale. Self-perceived class is related to education, income, and working determinants.
    Gaceta Sanitaria 07/2013; 14(3):218–225. · 1.12 Impact Factor
  • M. Amable, J. Benach
    Gaceta Sanitaria 07/2013; 14(6):418–421. · 1.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction between workers and safety representatives (SRs), a factor that determines SRs' effectiveness, is an unexplored issue within occupational health research. We undertook a qualitative exploratory interpretative-descriptive study by means of semi-structured interviews with SRs from Barcelona (Spain) to analyze the SRs' perspective on the interaction with workers and its determinants RESULTS: SRs' interaction with workers is mainly limited to information processes and to identifying occupational hazards. Prominent factors determining this interaction are associated with the way SRs understand and carry out their role, the firm sector and size, and workers' fear of dismissal, exacerbated by changes in the labor market and the current economic crisis. Interaction with workers is influenced by a more prevalent technical-legal view of the SRs' role and by unequal power relations between workers and management. Poor interaction with workers might lead to decreasing SRs' effectiveness. Am. J. Ind. Med. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    American Journal of Industrial Medicine 07/2013; · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Precarious employment is becoming an increasingly important social determinant of health inequalities among workers. The way in which contemporary employment arrangements and their health consequences are addressed in empirical research is mostly based on the contract-related or employment instability dimension. A broader conceptual approach including various important characteristics of the degrading of employment conditions and relations is needed. The general objective of this paper is to empirically test a new multidimensional construct for measuring precarious employment in an existing database. Special focus is on the social distribution of precarious employment. A subsample of 21,415 participants in the EU-27 from the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey-2005 was analysed. A cross-sectional study of the social distribution of precarious employment was conducted through the analysis of proportional differences according to gender, social class and credentials for the European Union as a whole and within each country. The 8 dimensions of the Employment Precariousness Construct were represented by 11 indicators. In general, women, workers without supervisory authority, those with fewer credentials, and those living in Eastern and Southern European countries suffer the highest levels of precarious employment. Exceptionally, men, workers with supervisory authority and those with the highest credentials suffer the highest levels of long working hours, schedule unpredictability and uncompensated flexible working times. This article offers the first validation for an innovative multidimensional conceptualisation of employment precariousness applied to the analysis of existing survey data, showing the unequal distribution of precarious employment across the European labour force. This set of indicators can be useful for exposure surveillance of precarious employment.
    Work 06/2013; · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    03/2013; Fundación BBVA., ISBN: 978-84-92937-07-3
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    edited by Generalitat de Catalunya, 01/2013;
  • Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Using the 2002 World Health Survey, we examine the association between welfare state regimes, gender and mental health among 26 countries classified into seven distinct regimes: Conservative, Southeast Asian, Eastern European, Latin American, Liberal, Southern/Ex-dictatorship, and Social Democratic. A two-level hierarchical model found that the odds of experiencing a brief depressive episode in the last 12 months was significantly higher for Southern/Ex- dictatorship countries than for Southeast Asian (odds ratio (OR) = 0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05-0.27) and Eastern European (OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.22-0.58) regimes after controlling for gender, age, education, marital status, and economic development. In adjusted interaction models, compared to Southern/Ex-dictatorship males (reference category), the odds ratios of depression were significantly lower among Southeast Asian males (OR = 0.16, 95% CI 0.08-0.34) and females (OR = 0.23, 95% CI 0.10-0.53) and Eastern European males (OR = 0.41, 95% CI 0.26-0.63) and significantly higher among females in Liberal (OR = 2.00, 95% CI 1.14-3.49) and Southern (OR = 2.42, 95% CI 1.86-3.15) regimes. Our results highlight the importance of incorporating middle-income countries into comparative welfare regime research and testing for interactions between welfare regimes and gender on mental health.
    International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2013; 10(4):1324-41. · 2.00 Impact Factor
  • 01/2013; Fundación BBVA., ISBN: 978-84-92937-07-3
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Evidence on the health-damaging effects of precarious employment is limited by the use of one-dimensional approaches focused on employment instability. This study assesses the association between precarious employment and poor mental health using the multidimensional Employment Precariousness Scale. Methods. Cross-sectional study of 5679 temporary and permanent workers from the population-based Psychosocial Factors Survey was carried out in 2004-2005 in Spain. Poor mental health was defined as SF-36 mental health scores below the 25th percentile of the Spanish reference for each respondent's sex and age. Prevalence proportion ratios (PPRs) of poor mental health across quintiles of employment precariousness (reference: 1st quintile) were calculated with log-binomial regressions, separately for women and men. Results. Crude PPRs showed a gradient association with poor mental health and remained generally unchanged after adjustments for age, immigrant status, socioeconomic position, and previous unemployment. Fully adjusted PPRs for the 5th quintile were 2.54 (95% CI: 1.95-3.31) for women and 2.23 (95% CI: 1.86-2.68) for men. Conclusion. The study finds a gradient association between employment precariousness and poor mental health, which was somewhat stronger among women, suggesting an interaction with gender-related power asymmetries. Further research is needed to strengthen the epidemiological evidence base and to inform labour market policy-making.
    Journal of Environmental and Public Health 01/2013; 2013:978656.
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    ABSTRACT: In 1999, newly-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez initiated a far-reaching social movement as part of a political project known as the Bolivarian Revolution. Inspired by the democratic ideologies of Simón Bolívar, this movement was committed to reducing intractable inequalities that defined Venezuela's Fourth Republic (1958-1998). Given the ambitious scope of these reforms, Venezuela serves as an instructive example to understand the political context of social inequalities and population health. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the impact of egalitarian policies in Venezuela, stressing: (a) the socialist reforms and social class changes initiated by the Bolivarian Movement; (b) the impact of these reforms and changes on poverty and social determinants of health; (c) the sustainability of economic growth to continue pro-poor policies; and (d) the implications of egalitarian policies for other Latin American countries. The significance and implications of Chávez's achievements are now further underscored given his recent passing, leading one to ask whether political support for Bolivarianism will continue without its revolutionary leader.
    International Journal of Health Services 01/2013; 43(3):537-49. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inspired by a previous study showing a striking geographical mortality clustering, not attributable to chance, in the south-western region of Spain in 1987-1995, the authors have conducted an ecological study of time trends in all-cause mortality risk between 1987-1995 and 1996-2004 in 2,218 small areas of Spain. To identify high-risk areas, age-adjusted relative risks for each area, stratified by sex and time period, were computed using a Bayesian approach. Areas of high-risk in both periods, or in the second period only, were identified. Annual excess mortality and percentage of people living in these high-risk areas, again stratified by sex and time period, were estimated. The cluster of high mortality risk areas identified in the southwest of Spain during 1987-1995 persisted in the period 1996-2004 with an increase in the number of highrisk areas and in annual excess of mortality. These increases showed a gender difference, being more pronounced in women.
    Geospatial health 11/2012; 7(1):73-81. · 1.65 Impact Factor
  • Gaceta Sanitaria 10/2012; 26(5):491-491. · 1.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The last decade has witnessed a surge in interest for policies to tackle health inequalities. Adequate theoretical development of policy models is needed to understand how to design and evaluate equity-oriented health policies. In this paper we review Graham's typology of policies (focused on the worst-off, on the gap, or on the gradient) and propose an adaptation (targeted, universal with additional targeting, redistributive, and proportionate universalism). For each type, potential scenarios of impact on population health and health inequalities are depicted following the idea of Geoffrey Rose's population curves and strategies, policy examples are given and a simulation with survey data is shown. The proposed typology of scenarios of health inequality reduction can serve as an effective tool to interpret the differential impact of interventions and to reflect on how to adequately design or re-orient a policy and which measures to use to evaluate it.
    Journal of epidemiology and community health 08/2012; · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    Occupational and environmental medicine 07/2012; 69(10):770-1. · 3.64 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
401.25 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Korea University
      • Department of Healthcare Management
      Seoul, Seoul, South Korea
    • Polytechnic University of Catalonia
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2006–2013
    • University of Toronto
      • • Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
      • • Department of Psychiatry
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1999–2012
    • University Pompeu Fabra
      • Department of Experimental and Health Sciences
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2006–2011
    • Agència de Salut Pública de Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2010
    • University of New South Wales
      Kensington, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2009
      CiudadSantiago, Santiago, Chile
  • 2008
    • Hospital de Alta Resolución Sierra de Segura
      Puente-Génave, Andalusia, Spain
  • 2002
    • University of Maryland, Baltimore
      • School of Nursing
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 2001
    • Institut Marqués, Spain, Barcelona
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain