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Experiences of Employment Precariousness and Psychological Well-being in East Central Sweden

Gloria Macassa, Helena Bergström, Emelie Malstam, Anne Sofie Hiswåls, Joaquim Soares, Nader Ahmadiand Anneli Marttila

Background: In the past decade, temporary employment arrangements, including fixed-term and sub-contracted jobs, as well as project work, on-call work and work via temporary-help agencies have increased in developed countries, including Sweden. The objective of this study was to explore precariously employed individuals’ experiences and perceptions of employment strain and its effect on their psychological well-being in Gävleborg County, Sweden. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 respondents residing in Gävleborg County about their experiences of precarious employment and their perceptions of the relationship between their precarious employment and psychological well-being. Thematic analysis was conducted to relate the results to the employment strain framework. Results: The main theme to emerge in the data was managing stress. Respondent’s perceived significant stress related to keeping employment as well as having future work. In addition, they had difficulties in coping with everyday life because of economic strain, lack of work opportunities and isolation. Conclusions: The results of this study highlight how precariously employed individuals are unable to cope with the stress related to uncertainty in maintaining their current work or having control of their working hours. In addition, the results indicate that precariously employed workers experience economic strain related to income uncertainty, which affects their ability to cope with daily life.