Job Characteristics, Job Preferences, and Physical and Mental Health in Later Life
47 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2017 Last revised: 9 Oct 2018
Date Written: March 25, 2017
Existing research linking the SES health gradient with work primarily focuses on the precursors (educational attainment) and outcomes (income) of work, rather than asking how more diverse facets of work influence health and health disparities. Using four waves of data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, we evaluate whether multiple measures of respondent job characteristics, respondent preferences for those characteristics, and their interaction substantially improve the fit of sociological models of men’s and women’s physical and mental health compared to traditional models using educational attainment, parental SES, and income. We find that non-wage job characteristics predict men’s and women’s physical and mental health outcomes, although we find only weak evidence that the degree to which one’s job accords with one’s job preferences matters for health. These findings expand our understanding of the SES health gradient, demonstrating how the manner and condition under which one works has long lasting impacts on wellbeing.
Keywords: health, employment, job characteristics, job preferences, mental health, SES
JEL Classification: I00, I14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation