Does Occupational Mobility Influence Health among Working Women? Comparing Objective and Subjective Measures of Work Trajectories

Lindsay R. Wilkinson, Tetyana P. Shippee, Kenneth F. Ferraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Occupational mobility is highly valued in American society, but is it consequential to women's health? Previous studies have yielded inconsistent results, but most measured occupational mobility by identifying transitions across occupational categories. Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, this study (1) compares objective and subjective measures of work trajectories and (2) examines the contributions of each to self-rated health. With 36 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women (1967-2003), growth curve models are used to estimate the effects of middle-aged work trajectories on health among 2,503 U.S. women. Work trajectories as measured by the Duncan Socioeconomic Index predict health, but not after adjustment for perceived work trajectories and status characteristics. The findings reveal that subjective measures of occupational mobility provide important information for assessing health consequences of work transitions and that downward occupational mobility in middle age is deleterious to women's health in later life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-447
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Keywords

  • cumulative inequality
  • longitudinal data
  • occupational mobility
  • perceptions
  • self-rated health

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