Employment insecurity and sleep disturbance: Evidence from 31 European countries

Quan D. Mai, Terrence D. Hill, Luis Vila-Henninger, Michael A. Grandner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


For nearly half a century, jobs have become increasingly characterized by employment insecurity. We examined the implications for sleep disturbance with cross-sectional data from the European Working Conditions Survey (2010). A group of 24,553 workers between the ages of 25 and 65 years in 31 European countries were asked to indicate whether they suffered from “insomnia or general sleep difficulties” in the past 12 months. We employed logistic regression to model the association between employment insecurity and sleep disturbance for all countries combined and each individual country. For all countries combined, employment insecurity increased the odds of reporting insomnia or general sleep difficulties in the past 12 months. Each unit increase in employment insecurity elevated the odds of sleep disturbance by approximately 47%. This finding was remarkably consistent across 27 of 31 European countries, including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and UK. These results persisted with adjustments for age, gender, immigrant status, household size, partnership status, number of children, child care, elder care, education, earner status, precarious employment status, workplace sector, workplace tenure and workplace size. Employment insecurity was unrelated to sleep disturbance in four European countries: Malta, Poland, Portugal and Romania. Our research continues recent efforts to reveal the human costs associated with working in neoliberal postindustrial labour markets. Our analyses contribute to the external validity of previous research by exploring the impact of employment insecurity across European countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12763
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • insomnia
  • stress
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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