Combining employment and family in Europe: The role of family policies in health

Lucía Artazcoz, Imma Cortès, Vanessa Puig-Barrachina, Fernando G. Benavides, Vicenta Escribà-Agüir, Carme Borrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The objectives of this study were: (i) to analyse the relationship between health status and paid working hours and household composition in the EU-27, and (ii) to examine whether patterns of association differ as a function of family policy typologies and gender. Methods: Cross-sectional study based on data from the 5th European Working Conditions Survey of 2010. The sample included married or cohabiting employees aged 25-64 years from the EU-27 (10,482 men and 8,882 women). The dependent variables were self-perceived health status and psychological well-being. Results: Irrespective of differences in family policy typologies between countries, working long hours was more common among men, and part-time work was more common among women. In Continental and Southern European countries, employment and family demands were associated with poor health status in both sexes, but more consistently among women. In Anglo-Saxon countries, the association was mainly limited to men. Finally, in Nordic and Eastern European countries, employment and family demands were largely unassociated with poor health outcomes in both sexes. Conclusions: The combination of employment and family demands is largely unassociated with health status in countries with dual-earner family policy models, but is associated with poorer health outcomes in countries with market-oriented models, mainly among men. This association is more consistent among women in countries with traditional models, where males are the breadwinners and females are responsible for domestic and care work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-655
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)

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