BACKGROUND: From an employee-perspective, temporary agency employment can be considered in two ways. According to the first perspective, agency jobs are associated with job characteristics that adversely affect (mental) health: job insecurity, low wages, a lack of benefits, little training, poorer prospects for the future, high working time flexibility, minimal trade union representation and problematic triadic employment relations. The other perspective underlines that flexibility, learning opportunities and freedom in agency employment enable workers to build the career of their choice, which may positively affect health and well-being.
OBJECTIVE: This article aims at interpreting and explaining these conflicting perspectives. In particular, we discuss the role of coping resources (control, support, trust and equity) in the stress pathway between characteristics of temporary agency employment and mental well-being.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 12 Belgian temporary agency workers were conducted and analysed from a phenomenological perspective.
RESULTS: The results reveal mainly how a lack of coping resources plays a key role in how (precarious) characteristics of temporary agency employment affect employees' mental well-being.
CONCLUSIONS: This study illustrates one of the earlier assumed pathways, in which coping resources play an intermediary as well as a moderating role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages16
JournalWork: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Temporary agency employment, stress process, coping resources, qualitative research, phenomenology

ID: 2463875