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What does "occupation" represent as an indicator of socioeconomic status?: Exploring occupational prestige and health.
Fujishiro-K; Xu-J; Gong-F
Soc Sci Med 2010 Dec; 71(12):2100-2107
The association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health has been widely documented. However, the role of occupation in this association is not clear because occupation is less often used than income and education as an indicator of SES, especially in the United States. This may be caused by the ambiguity in what occupation represents: both health-enhancing resources (e.g., self-affirmation) and health-damaging hazards (e.g., job stress). SES has two aspects: resources and status. While income and education represent resources and imply status, occupational prestige is an explicit indicator of the social status afforded by one's occupation. Using data from the US General Social Survey in 2002 and 2006 (n = 3151), we examine whether occupational prestige has a significant association with self-rated health independent from other SES indicators (income, education), occupational categories (e.g., managerial, professional, technical, service), and previously established work-related health determinants (job strain, work place social support, job satisfaction). After all covariates were included in the multiple logistic regression model, higher occupational prestige was associated with lower odds of reporting poor/fair self-rated health. We discuss potential mechanisms through which occupational prestige may impact health. Our findings not only suggest multiple ways that occupation is associated with health, but also highlight the utility of occupational prestige as an SES indicator that explicitly represents social standing.
Sociological-factors; Worker-health; Occupations; Job-stress; Mathematical-models; Health-surveys; Author Keywords: USA; Socioeconomic status; Self-rated health; Job strain; Job satisfaction; Social standing
Kaori Fujishiro, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway (R-15), Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
Issue of Publication
Social Science and Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division