Physical and psychosocial work factors as explanations for social inequalities in self-rated health

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Objective: We investigated the contribution of physical and psychosocial work factors to social inequalities in self-rated health (SRH) in a sample of Danish 40 and 50 years old occupationally active women and men. Methods: In this longitudinal study, the study population consisted of 3338 Danish women and men. Data were collected by postal questionnaires in 2000 (baseline) and 2006 (follow-up). The independent variable, socioeconomic position (SEP), was assessed by the highest achieved educational level at baseline. We conducted gender-stratified parallel multiple mediation analyses. In the mediation analyses, SEP was categorised as SEP I, II, III, VI and V among men. Among women, SEP was dichotomised into SEP I–IV and V. The outcome, SRH, was assessed at baseline and follow-up. A wide range of physical and psychosocial work factors were included as potential mediators. Results: We found a social gradient in SRH across all levels of SEP among men. Among women, we only found a poorer SRH among those with the lowest SEP. Mediation analyses showed that work factors together accounted for 56% of the social inequalities in SRH among men and 44% among women. In both genders, ergonomic exposures and job insecurity seemed to play the major role for social inequalities in SRH. For women only, we also found noise to contribute to the social inequalities in SRH. Conclusion: Physical and psychosocial work factors partially explained social inequalities in SRH among both genders. Improvement of the working environment can potentially contribute to the reduction of social inequalities in health.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
ISSN0340-0131
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

    Research areas

  • Physical working conditions, Psychosocial working conditions, Self-assessed health, Social class

ID: 249765257