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Do work and family care histories predict health in older women?

Benson, Rebecca, Glaser, Karen, Corna, Laurie M., Platts, Loretta G., Di Gessa, Giorgio, Worts, Diana, Price, Debora, McDonough, Peggy and Sacker, Amanda (2017) Do work and family care histories predict health in older women? European Journal of Public Health, 27 (6). pp. 1010-1015. ISSN 1101-1262

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Identification Number: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx128

Abstract

Background Social and policy changes in the last several decades have increased women’s options for combining paid work with family care. We explored whether specific combinations of work and family care over the lifecourse are associated with variations in women’s later life health. Methods We used sequence analysis to group women in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing according to their work histories and fertility. Using logistic regression, we tested for group differences in later life disability, depressive symptomology and mortality, while controlling for childhood health and socioeconomic position and a range of adult socio-economic circumstances and health behaviours. Results Women who transitioned from family care to either part-time work after a short break from the labour force, or to full-time work, reported lower odds of having a disability compared with the reference group of women with children who were mostly employed full-time throughout. Women who shifted from family care to part-time work after a long career break had lower odds of mortality than the reference group. Depressive symptoms were not associated with women’s work and family care histories. Conclusion Women’s work histories are predictive of their later life disability and mortality. This relationship may be useful in targeting interventions aimed at improving later life health. Further research is necessary to explore the mechanisms linking certain work histories to poorer later life health and to design interventions for those affected.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/eurpub
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2017 14:14
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 06:37
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/84653

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