In a discussion paper aimed at identifying new research questions regarding labor markets and health trajectories based on a model that considers the working life course in a social context, Dr. Benjamin C. Amick III of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work along Dr. Christopher B. McLeod of the University of British Columbia and Dr. Ute Bültmann of the University of Groningen have published their findings in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.
[Photo: Dr. Benjamin C. Amick III ]
In Labor markets and health: an integrated life course perspective, the research team puts forth the premise that current work and health research is fragmented, focusing on jobs, exposures, specific worker groups, work organization or employment contracts. “Taking the changing nature of work and labor markets into account, this paper updates the labor markets and health framework. It then reviews, defines and integrates key life course concepts,” says Dr. Amick.
The paper asserts that integrating a life course perspective into work and health research can lead to a new approach to conceptualizing research questions that: 1) account for prior non-work and health states and significant life transitions; 2) offer a new work and health nomenclature reflecting transitions, experiences, trajectories and context; and, 3) place a primary research focus on labor markets and health trajectories.
Importantly, and distinct from the previous models, the life course approach permits the consideration of sequencing earlier health and health changes that may influence later life health or health changes.
Dr. Amick has long been attracted to research. He became focused on issues of health and safety as an undergraduate, when he developed a specific interest in work stress and cardiovascular disease. “I thought it was an important and understudied area,” he says. Today, he is chair of the department of Health Policy & Management where he specializes in integrating organizational sciences, ergonomics and epidemiology to understand the role of labor markets in health, wellness and economic competitiveness in society.