Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Job insecurity and the use of antidepressant medication among Danish employees with and without a history of prolonged unemployment: a 3.5-year follow-up study
  1. R Rugulies1,2,3,
  2. K Thielen2,
  3. E Nygaard2,
  4. F Diderichsen2
  1. 1
    National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2
    Department of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3
    Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr R Rugulies, National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lerso Parkallé 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; rer{at}


Background: A study was undertaken to investigate whether job insecurity predicts incident use of antidepressant medication and whether the association is modified by a history of prolonged unemployment.

Methods: A prospective follow-up study was performed in 5142 Danish employees, including 632 employees with and 4510 without a history of prolonged unemployment. Participants were drawn from a random 10% sample of the Danish population. Survey data on job insecurity were linked with register data on history of unemployment and dispensing of antidepressant medication between June 2000 and December 2003 retrieved from the Danish Medicinal Product Statistics. Respondents with major depression at baseline or antidepressant use in the 5 years preceding baseline were excluded.

Results: Job insecurity predicted use of antidepressants after adjustment for sex, age, cohabitation, socioeconomic position and alcohol consumption (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.88). The effect was attenuated after further adjustment for baseline depressive symptoms (OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.52). A history of prolonged unemployment predicted use of antidepressants in both models (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.14 to 2.30 and OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.13, respectively) Compared with participants with neither job insecurity nor unemployment history, the OR for the joint effect of job insecurity and history of prolonged unemployment was substantially higher (OR 1.79, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.79) than the OR for job insecurity (OR 1.02) and unemployment history (OR 1.10) alone in the fully adjusted model.

Conclusion: Job insecurity predicts incident use of antidepressants among Danish employees with a history of prolonged unemployment.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding The study was supported by grants of the Danish Working Environment Research Fund (grant numbers 24-2005-09, 2-2006-04, and 5-2006-04) and of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Public Health Fund (grant number 2005-14033-8).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The study has been notified to and registered by the Danish Data Protection Agency (Datatilsynet). According to Danish law, studies that include data from questionnaires and from registers only do not need approval from the Danish National Committee on Biomedical Research Ethics (Den Centrale Videnskabsetiske Komité).

  • Provenance and Peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.