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Precarious employment in young adulthood and later alcohol-related morbidity: a register-based cohort study.

OBJECTIVES: The prevalence of precarious employment is increasing, particularly among young adults where less is known about the long-term health consequences. The present study aims to test if being precariously employed in young adulthood is associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related morbidity later in life.

METHODS: A register-based cohort study was conducted in Sweden. The Swedish Work, Illness, and Labor-market Participation (SWIP) cohort was used to identify individuals who were aged 27 years between 2000 and 2003 ( n =339 403). Information on labour market position (precarious employment, long-term unemployment, substandard employment and standard employment relations) was collected for young people 3 years after graduation from school using nationwide registers. Details about alcohol-related morbidity during a 28-year follow-up period were collected from the National Hospital Discharge Register. Data on sex, age, country of birth, education and previous poor health were also obtained from the registers.

RESULTS: Young adults in precarious employment had an increased risk of alcohol-related morbidity compared with individuals of the same age in standard employment (HR 1.43, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.55), after adjusting for several important covariates. A stronger association was found among young men who were precariously employed compared with young women.

CONCLUSION: This nationwide register-based study conducted in Sweden with a long-term follow-up suggests that being precariously employed in young adulthood is associated with an increased risk of alcohol-related morbidity later in life.

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