CitationNazarova, Inna B. (2000). Self-rated health and occupational conditions in Russia. Social Science & Medicine, 51(9), 1375-1385.
AbstractA low level of health promotion and disease prevention awareness in Russia, such as disregard for personal health during periods of well-being or illness, have contributed to a decline in general population health over the past decade. The relationship of working conditions and health awareness was explored among a sample of adults in Russia. This research project was conducted, July–August, 1998, in the city of Kazan. Data was collected by probability sampling of addresses and personal interview.
Working conditions influence general public and family health. The occupation of the spouse contributed significantly to family conflicts, and financial problems ranked first as the cause of marital conflict. Due to lack of material resources, one-third of respondents, even though employed, reported being dissatisfied with the quality of their nutritional status and one-fifth with the lack of leisure time. Although more than two-thirds were satisfied with their work, every fifth did not consider their wages sufficient, every fourth wanted to change occupations, and every third was afraid of being fired.
The majority of employed respondents reported low salaries, worked a full 8-hour day at their primary occupations and one-fifth had a second job. Younger people were especially prone to disregard their health with intensive work schedules.
About half of respondents reported being exposed to toxic health hazards in their past or current jobs. Almost one-fifth agreed to work at hazardous occupations because of higher salaries. Social status, indicated by a higher education, was associated with having the opportunity to chose work in more favourable circumstances, and consequently with less health risks.
In summary, the research demonstrated that health was an instrumental value in Russia, exploited as a economic resource not only during periods of well-being but also during illness, by individuals not seeking preventive or timely health care because of the fear of losing their jobs.