Job Characteristics as Mechanisms in SES-Health Relationships

John R. Warren, University of Washington
Pascale Carayon, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Peter Honnakker, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Although prior research has documented socioeconomic gradients in health, the causal mechanisms linking SES and health have not been well explored. We will investigate the impact of the physical and psychosocial characteristics of employment on several physical and mental health outcomes using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS). We do so with an eye toward understanding the ways in which job characteristics mediate the relationship between SES and health. We will also explore the roles of job satisfaction and psychological well being as mediators in the relationships between job attributes and health. To address these questions we will employ a series of structural equation models to examine the impact of job characteristics as measured in 1975 and 1992 on health as measured in 1992, both in cross-section and longitudinally. However, we will also assess the cumulative health impact of job characteristics (and changes in job characteristics) between 1975 and 1992 on health in 1992.

Presented in Session 36: Economic Status and Health Over the Life Course