Background: Experience of work-place downsizing (i.e. the reduction of personnel) is common and may constitute a threat to public health in working populations. We studied whether downsizing was associated with increased mortality among those remaining in employment the downsized workplaces.
Methods: Prospective population registration data containing detailed socio-economic and demographic information on 85,833 Finnish employees aged 35-64 years at the beginning of 1994 or 1993 followed up for cause-specific mortality for eight years. One-year changes in work-place staffing levels were obtained from Statistics Finland records on workplaces.
Results: There was no association between downsizing on any level (a 10-29%, 30-49% or 50-100% reduction in personnel) and increased all-cause mortality among those remaining in the downsized workplaces, those who became employed in other workplaces, or those who had become unemployed. We did not observe any sex differences in these effects among those who remained in the downsized workplaces, nor did we identify a period of particular vulnerability immediately following the downsizing. Furthermore, no detrimental effects were observed for any particular cause of death studied.
Conclusions: The results provide evidence that downsizing is not a significant determinant of excess mortality among those remaining in the downsized workplaces.
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