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Objectives: Changes in employment contracts may impact the quality of working life, job insecurity, health and work-related attitudes. We examined the validity of two partly competing theoretical approaches. Based upon a segmentation approach, we expected no change in scores among stable trajectories, whereas upward trajectories were expected to be for the better and downward trajectories to be for the worse (Hypothesis 1). As turnover theories suggest that this hypothesis may only apply to workers who do not change employer, we also examined these contract trajectories stratified for a change of employer (Hypothesis 2). Methods & Results: Drawing on the 2007 and 2008 waves of the Netherlands Working Conditions Cohort Study (N = 9,688), repeated measures analysis of covariance showed little across-time change in the criterion variables, thus largely disconfirming our first hypothesis. These results could (at least partly) be explained by employer change; this was generally associated with improved scores among all contract trajectories (Hypothesis 2). However, workers receiving a less stable contract from the same employer were found to be at risk for health and well-being problems. Conclusions: Segmentation theory-based assumptions on contract trajectories primarily apply to stable and downward contract trajectories at the same employer, whereas assumptions from turnover theories better apply to contract trajectories combined with a change of employer. Future research should focus more closely on factors predicting "involuntary" downward trajectories into precarious temporary employment or unemployment.
Behavioural Science Institute, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of occupational health
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