Mismatch Stress: The Effects of Unrealized Work Time Preferences on Health

Scott Schieman, University of Toronto
Lei Chai , University of Toronto

Is the mismatch between actual and preferred work hours associated with health? Overemployment refers to workers’ preference for fewer hours, while underemployment refers to the preference for more hours. We analyze data from a longitudinal study of Canadian workers (2011-2017) using fixed-effects models to predict changes in distress, sleep problems, and physical symptoms. We find four distinct patterns: (1) the overemployed who work full-time or overwork report increased levels of all health outcomes—and exposure to job pressure and work-to-family conflict fully explain these patterns; (2) overemployed and underemployed part-time workers report increased distress only, net of stressors; (3) part-time workers who prefer those hours report increased levels of all health outcomes; and (4) overworked individuals who prefer those hours report increased sleep problems because of elevated stress exposures. Our discoveries advance knowledge about the health effects of mismatch stress and the explanatory power of job stress and work-family strain.

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 Presented in Session 160. Perceptions of Time Use and Individual Well-being