Occupational social class trajectories in physical functioning among employed women from midlife to retirement

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BMC Public Health. 2019 Nov 14;19(1):1525

Title: Occupational social class trajectories in physical functioning among employed women from midlife to retirement
Author: Lahelma, Eero; Pietiläinen, Olli; Chandola, Tarani; Hyde, Martin; Rahkonen, Ossi; Lallukka, Tea
Publisher: BioMed Central
Date: 2019-11-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/307008
Abstract: Abstract Background Prior analyses of class differences in health trajectories among employees have often omitted women and transitions to retirement. We examined social class trajectories in physical functioning among Finnish female employees from midlife to retirement age, and whether transitions to retirement modified these trajectories. Methods Data were derived from mail surveys at Phases 1–3 (2000–2012) among employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland, aged 40–60 at baseline (n = 8960, 80% women, response rates 69–83%). We included respondents to any of the Phases 1–3 aged 40–72 (n = 6976). We distinguished higher and lower social classes, and employment statuses, i.e. employed, mandatorily retired and disability-retired. Short Form 36 physical component summary was used to measure physical functioning. Mixed-effect growth curve models were used to assess the association of social class and employment status with functioning over age. Results For employed women, physical functioning deteriorated faster in the lower than in the higher class, with class trajectories widening in ages 40–65. After mandatory retirement, functioning deteriorated in both classes, whereas after disability retirement, functioning improved. Across employment statuses, functioning converged at older ages, and the disability-retired caught up with the better functioning of the employed and mandatorily retired. Employment status modified the trajectories, as among the continuously employed and mandatorily retired women functioning deteriorated, but among the disability-retired, trajectories improved and reached a similar level with employed and mandatorily retired women. Social class inequalities remained in all employment status groups. Conclusions Overall, our results suggest evidence for the cumulative disadvantage model, with accumulating work exposures among lower classes potentially contributing to their trajectories of ill health.
Subject: Physical functioning
Social class

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