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Article

Precarious Employment and Chronic Stress: Do Social Support Networks Matter?

by 1,2,*, 1,3, 1,2,4 and 1,5,6
1
Research Group on Health Inequalities, Environment, and Employment Conditions (GREDS-EMCONET), Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
2
Johns Hopkins University—Universitat Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center (UPF-PPC), 08005 Barcelona, Spain
3
Department of Sociology, Universitat de Barcelona, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
4
Ecological Humanities Research Group (GHECO), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
5
ESIMar (Mar Nursing School), Parc de Salut Mar, Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Affiliated, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
6
SDHEd (Social Determinants and Health Education Research Group), IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), 08005 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031909
Received: 27 December 2021 / Revised: 2 February 2022 / Accepted: 3 February 2022 / Published: 8 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Support and Social Networks in Long-Term Conditions)
Precarious employment has been identified as a potentially damaging stressor. Conversely, social support networks have a well-known protective effect on health and well-being. The ways in which precariousness and social support may interact have scarcely been studied with respect to either perceived stress or objective stress biomarkers. This research aims to fill this gap by means of a cross-sectional study based on a non-probability quota sample of 250 workers aged 25–60 in Barcelona, Spain. Fieldwork was carried out between May 2019 and January 2020. Employment precariousness, perceived social support and stress levels were measured by means of scales, while individual steroid profiles capturing the chronic stress suffered over a period of a month were obtained from hair samples using a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methodology. As for perceived stress, analysis indicates that a reverse buffering effect exists (interaction B = 0.22, p = 0.014). Steroid biomarkers are unrelated to social support, while association with precariousness is weak and only reaches significance at p < 0.05 in the case of women and 20ß dihydrocortisone metabolites. These results suggest that social support can have negative effects on the relationship between perceived health and an emerging stressful condition like precariousness, while its association with physiological measures of stress remains uncertain. View Full-Text
Keywords: chronic stress; precarious employment; social support networks; buffering hypothesis; cortisol; stress biomarkers; health inequalities; social determinants of health chronic stress; precarious employment; social support networks; buffering hypothesis; cortisol; stress biomarkers; health inequalities; social determinants of health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Belvis, F.; Bolíbar, M.; Benach, J.; Julià, M. Precarious Employment and Chronic Stress: Do Social Support Networks Matter? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031909

AMA Style

Belvis F, Bolíbar M, Benach J, Julià M. Precarious Employment and Chronic Stress: Do Social Support Networks Matter? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(3):1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031909

Chicago/Turabian Style

Belvis, Francesc, Mireia Bolíbar, Joan Benach, and Mireia Julià. 2022. "Precarious Employment and Chronic Stress: Do Social Support Networks Matter?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 3: 1909. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031909

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