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Journal Articles Annals of Work Exposures and Health Year : 2019

Characterizing Short-Term Jobs in a Population-Based Study


Work histories generally cover all jobs held for ≥1 year. However, it may be time and cost prohibitive to conduct a detailed exposure assessment for each such job. While disregarding short-term jobs can reduce the assessment burden, this can be problematic if those jobs contribute important exposure information towards understanding disease aetiology. OBJECTIVE: To characterize short-term jobs, defined as lasting more than 1 year, but less than 2 years, in a population-based study conducted in Montreal, Canada. METHODS: In 2005-2012, we collected work histories for some 4000 participants in a case-control study of prostate cancer. Overall, subjects had held 19 462 paid jobs lasting ≥1 year, including 3655 short-term jobs. Using information from interviews and from the Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations, we characterized short-term jobs and compared them to jobs held ≥2 years. RESULTS: Short-term jobs represented <4% of subjects' work years on average. Forty-five per cent of subjects had at least one short-term job; of these, 49% had one, 24% had two, and 27% had at least three. Half of all short-term jobs had been held before the age of 24. Short-term jobs entailed more often exposure to fumes, odours, dust, and/or poor ventilation than longer jobs (17 versus 13%), as well as outdoor work (10 versus 5%) and heavy physical activity (16 versus 12%). CONCLUSIONS: Short-term jobs occurred often in early careers and more frequently entailed potentially hazardous exposures than longer-held jobs. However, as they represented a small proportion of work years, excluding them should have a marginal impact on lifetime exposure assessment.

Dates and versions

pasteur-02133222 , version 1 (17-05-2019)



Marie-Elise Parent, Hugues Richard, Jean-François Sauvé. Characterizing Short-Term Jobs in a Population-Based Study. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 2019, pp.wxz026. ⟨10.1093/annweh/wxz026⟩. ⟨pasteur-02133222⟩


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