Advertisement

Underemployment, Overemployment, and Mental Health

  • Deborah De MoortelEmail author
Living reference work entry
  • 10 Downloads
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the difficulty locating work that is consistent with one’s needs, abilities, values, and interests and its consequence for workers’ mental health. More specifically, the concept of “volition” is entered in research on mental health consequences of working hours. Volition, in this context, means the degree to which workers are able to work their preferred number of working hours. To describe work hours that are not in line with one’s preferences, the concepts of under- and overemployment are used. Firstly, a short literature review on under- and overemployment conceptualizations and measures is given. Afterwards, three relevant empirical questions are answered: (1) whether the length of the working hours is a determinant for mental health or whether the involuntary nature of working hours is harmful to mental health; (2) whether family- and work-related resources are important for the health impact of under- and overemployment; and (3) whether a narrower interpretation of “volition,” comparing solely the discrepancy between actual and preferred working hours, is a determinant of health. In this chapter, it becomes clear that the conceptualization and measurements of under- and overemployment are extremely heterogeneous. Moreover, it is hours mismatch rather than the actual number of hours that is detrimental for health.

Keywords

Health Well-being Working hours Mismatch 

References

  1. Allan BA, Duffy RD, Blustein DL (2016) Under (and over) employment: measurement and correlates of employment discrepancy. Couns Psychol 44(6):815–840.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000016654766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan BA, Tay L, Sterling HM (2017) Construction and validation of the Subjective Underemployment Scales (SUS). J Vocat Behav 99:93–106.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.01.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson S, Winefield AH (2011) The impact of underemployment on psychological health, physical health, and work attitudes. In: Maynard DC, Feldmand D c (eds) Underemployment. Psychological, economic and social challenges. Springer, New York, pp 165–185Google Scholar
  4. Angrave D, Charlwood A (2015) What is the relationship between long working hours, over-employment, under-employment and the subjective well-being of workers? Longitudinal evidence from the UK. Hum Relat 68(9):1491–1515.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726714559752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Artazcoz L, Cortès I, Puig-Barrachina V, Benavides FG, Escribà-Agüir V, Borrell C (2014) Combining employment and family in Europe: the role of family policies in health. Eur J Pub Health 24(4):649–655.  https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckt170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aumann K, Galinsky E, Matos K (2011) The new male mystique. http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/newmalemystique.pdf
  7. BaŞlevent C, KirmanoĞlu H (2013) The impact of deviations from desired hours of work on the life satisfaction of employees. Soc Indic Res 118(1):33–43.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0421-9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bech P, Olsen LR, Kjoller M, Rasmussen NK (2003) Measuring well-being rather than the absence of distress symptoms: a comparison of the SF-36 mental health subscale and the WHO-five well-being scale. Int J Methods Psychiatr Res 12(2):85–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bell D, Otterbach S, Sousa-poza A (2011) Work hours constraints and health. Discussion paper no. 6126. Institute for the Study of Labor, BonnGoogle Scholar
  10. Berdecia FS, Jaffe AJ (1955) The concept and measurement of underemployment. Mon Labor Rev 78(3):283–287Google Scholar
  11. Cogin J (2012) Are generational differences in work values fact or fiction? Multi-country evidence and implications. Int J Hum Resour Manag 23(11):2268–2294.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2011.610967CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Constant AF, Otterbach S (2011) Work hours constraints: impacts and policy implications. IZA policy papers, 35Google Scholar
  13. De Moortel D, Thévenon O, De Witte H, Vanroelen C (2017) Working hours mismatch, macroeconomic changes, and mental Well-being in Europe. J Health Soc Behav 58(2):217–231.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022146517706532CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. De Moortel D, Dragano N, Vanroelen C, Wahrendorf M (2018) Underemployment, overemployment and deterioration of mental health: the role of job rewards. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 91(8):1031–1039.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-018-1345-0CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. De Moortel D, Dragano N, Wahrendorf M (2019) Involuntary full- and part-time work: employees’ mental health and the role of family- and work-related resources. J Happiness Stud 81(08/09):2E-6Google Scholar
  16. Dixon J, Carey G, Strazdins L, Banwell C, Woodman D, Burgess J et al (2014) Contemporary contestations over working time: time for health to weigh in. BMC Public Health 14(1):1–8.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eurofound (2016) Working time developments in the 21st century: work duration and its regulation in the EU. Publications Office of the European Union.  https://doi.org/10.2806/888566
  18. Eurofound (2017) Estimating labour market slack in the European Union. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.  https://doi.org/10.2806/495895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Eurofound (2018) Living and working in Europe. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, p 2017Google Scholar
  20. Eurofound, ILO (2017) Working anytime, anywhere: the effects on the world of work. Eurofound, vol 1. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, and the International Labour Office, Geneva.  https://doi.org/10.2806/372726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Feldman DC (1996) The nature, antecedents and consequences of underemployment. J Manag 22:385–407Google Scholar
  22. Friedland DS, Price RH (2003) Underemployment: consequences for the health and well-being of workers. Am J Community Psychol 32(1–2):33–45.  https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025638705649CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Golden L, Gebreselassie T (2007) Overemployment mismatches: the preference for fewer work hours. Mon Labor Rev 130(4):18–36Google Scholar
  24. Greenhaus JH, Powell GN (2006) When work and family are allies: a theory of work-family enrichment. Acad Manag Rev 31(1):72–92.  https://doi.org/10.5465/AMR.2006.19379625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hiemer J, Andresen M (2019) When less time is preferred: an analysis of the conceptualization and measurement of overemployment. Time Soc.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463X18820736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jahoda M (1981) Work, employment, and unemployment: values, theories, and approaches in social research. Am Psychol 36(2):184–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karasek R, Theorell T (1990) Healthy work: stress, productivity, and the reconstruction of working life. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Kleiner S, Schunck R, Schömann K (2015) Different contexts, different effects?: work time and mental health in the United States and Germany. J Health Soc Behav 56(1):98–113.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0022146514568348CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Lallement M (2011) Europe and the economic crisis: forms of labour market adjustment and varieties of capitalism. Work Employ Soc 25(4):627–641.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017011419717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee BY, Wang J, Weststar J (2015) Work hour congruence: the effect on job satisfaction and absenteeism. Int J Hum Resour Manag 26(5):657–675.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2014.922601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lyness KS, Gornick JC, Stone P, Grotto AR (2012) It’s all about control: worker control over schedule and hours in cross-national context. Am Sociol Rev 77(6):1023–1049.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0003122412465331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maynard, D. C., & Feldman, D. C. (2011). Underemployment. Psychological, Economic and Social ChallengesGoogle Scholar
  33. Mc Ewen BS (1998) Stress, adaptation, and disease. Allostasis and allostatic load. Ann N Y Acad Sci 840:33–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McKee-Ryan FM, Harvey J (2011) “I have a job, but …”: A review of underemployment. J Manag 37(4):962–996.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206311398134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Carroll A (2014) Working time, knowledge work and post-industrial society: unpredictable workGoogle Scholar
  36. Otterbach S, Wooden M, Fok YK (2016) Working-time mismatch and mental health. SOEP papers on multidisciplinary panel data research, 843. DIW Berlin/SOEP, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  37. Pagan R (2017) Impact of working time mismatch on job satisfaction: evidence for German workers with disabilities. J Happiness Stud 18(1):125–149.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9721-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Puig-Barrachina V, Vanroelen C, Vives A, Martínez JM, Muntaner C, Levecque K et al (2014) Measuring employment precariousness in the European working conditions survey: the social distribution in Europe. Work (Reading) 49(1):143–161.  https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-131645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reynolds J (2003) You can’t always get the hours you want: mismatches between actual and preferred work hours in the United States. Soc Forces 81(4):1171–1199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reynolds J, Johnson DR (2012) Don’t blame the babies: work hour mismatches and the role of children. Soc Forces 91(1):131–155.  https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sos070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schröder M (2018) How working hours influence the life satisfaction of childless men and women, fathers and mothers in Germany. Z Soziol 47(1):65–82.  https://doi.org/10.1515/zfsoz-2018-1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stier H, Lewin-Epstein N (2003) Time to work: a comparative analysis of preferences for working hours. Work Occup 30(3):302–326.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0730888403253897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Strazdins L, Welsh J, Korda R, Broom D, Paolucci F (2016) Not all hours are equal: could time be a social determinant of health? Sociol Health Illn 38(1):21–42.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12300CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Van Echtelt PE, Glebbeek AC, Lindenberg SM (2006) The new lumpiness of work: explaining the mismatch between actual and preferred working hours. Work Employ Soc 20(3):493–512.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017006066998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wheatley D (2017) Employee satisfaction and use of flexible working arrangements. Work Employ Soc 31(4):567–585.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017016631447CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interface Demography, Department of SociologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselBelgium
  2. 2.Research Foundation FlandersBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Sociology, Medical FacultyHeinrich-Heine-University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Morten Wahrendorf
    • 1
  • Jian Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Sociology, Centre of Health and Society (CHS)Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Medical FacultyDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Fielding School of Public Health, School of NursingUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations