What''s up with the Self-employed? a Cross-National Perspective on the self-employed''s Work-Related Mental Well-Being

Jessie Gevaert, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Deborah De Moortel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Christophe Vanroelen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Although many governments actively stimulate self-employment, their work-related mental well-being remains

understudied. The aim of current study is to investigate the mental well-being of different types of self-employed,

testing whether mental well-being differences among self-employed are explained by the presence of work characteristics

that are in accordance with the ideal-typical image of the “successful entrepreneur” (e.g. creativity,

willingness to take risks, innovativeness, high intrinsic motivation, skilfulness and the ability of recognizing opportunities).

Moreover, we investigate the relation of country-level “entrepreneurial climate” and the individual

mental well-being of self-employed. For this purpose, data from the European Working Conditions Survey, round

6 (2015) was analysed, including 5448 cases, originating from the 28 EU-member states. Multilevel random intercepts

modelling was used to investigate associations of both individual- and country-level characteristics with

mental well-being. We found that motivation, the ability to recognize opportunities, and finding it easy to be

self-employed positively influences the mental well-being of self-employed. Respondents with these characteristics

are often medium-big employers, while farmers, dependent freelancers and own account workers generally

have less of these features and tend to have lower levels of mental well-being. At the country-level, positive

entrepreneurship perception relates to more advantageous mental health scores in self-employed. These results

implicate that policies promoting self-employment should be (more) concerned with the work-related characteristics

of (future) self-employed.


Presented in Session 1176: Health, Wellbeing, and Morbidity