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Neighbourhood socioeconomic status, health and working conditions of school teachers
  1. Marianna Virtanen1,
  2. Mika Kivimäki1,2,
  3. Marko Elovainio3,
  4. Anne Linna1,
  5. Jaana Pentti1,
  6. Jussi Vahtera1
  1. 1Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliuksenkatu, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School, London, UK
  3. 3National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Virtanen
 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Department of Psychology, Topeliuksenkatu 41 aA, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland; marianna.virtanen{at}


Objective: To investigate the associations of workplace neighbourhood socioeconomic status with health behaviours, health and working conditions among school teachers.

Method: The survey responses and employer records of 1862 teachers were linked to census data on school neighbourhood socioeconomic status. In the multilevel analysis, adjustments were made for demographics, work factors and the socioeconomic status of the teacher’s own residential area.

Setting: 226 public schools in Finland.

Results: Teachers working in schools from neighbourhoods with the lowest socioeconomic status reported heavy alcohol consumption (OR 2.25; 95% CI 1.32 to 3.83) and higher probability of doctor-diagnosed mental disorders (OR 1.47; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.12) more often than teachers working in schools located in the wealthiest neighbourhoods. After controlling for the socioeconomic status of the teacher’s own residential area, only heavy alcohol consumption remained statistically significant. Teachers working in schools with lower socioeconomic status also reported lower frequency of workplace meetings, lower participation in occupational training, lower teaching efficacy and higher mental workload.

Conclusions: School neighbourhood socioeconomic status is associated with working conditions and health of school teachers. The association with health is partially explained by the socioeconomic status of the teachers’ own residential neighbourhoods. An independent association was found between low socioeconomic status of school neighbourhoods and heavy alcohol use among teachers.

  • GEE, generalised estimating equation

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  • Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (projects 117604 and 105195) and the Finnish Work Environment Fund.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Contributors: MV is the guarantor for the paper, and with MK, ME, AL, JP and JV designed the hypothesis, analysed the data and wrote the paper.

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