The Impact of Occupation on Self-Rated Health: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey

Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA.
The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Impact Factor: 3.21). 03/2009; 64(1):118-24. DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbn006
Source: PubMed


The objective of this study is to estimate occupational differences in self-rated health, both in cross-section and over time, among older individuals.
We use hierarchical linear models to estimate self-reported health as a function of 8 occupational categories and key covariates. We examine self-reported health status over 7 waves (12 years) of the Health and Retirement Study. Our study sample includes 9,586 individuals with 55,389 observations. Longest occupation is used to measure the cumulative impact of occupation, address the potential for reverse causality, and allow the inclusion of all older individuals, including those no longer working.
Significant baseline differences in self-reported health by occupation are found even after accounting for demographics, health habits, economic attributes, and employment characteristics. But contrary to our hypothesis, there is no support for significant differences in slopes of health trajectories even after accounting for dropout.
Our findings suggest that occupation-related differences found at baseline are durable and persist as individuals age.

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Available from: Jody Sindelar, Jul 17, 2014
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    • "Using these measures, they are, however, able to resolve the issue of selection by including those not currently in the labour market and using lagged information on working conditions (Gueorguieva et al. 2009). Further, by utilizing information on career history, longitudinal studies are able to account for the effect of previous occupation, or cumulative exposure to working conditions, on health, and thereby address issues of simultaneity between health and current occupation (see Amick et al. 2002; Fletcher and Sindelar 2009; Gueorguieva et al. 2009). These studies find that previous occupations held matter for later general health. "

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