Understanding the relation between socioeconomic position and inflammation in post-menopausal women: education, income and occupational prestige

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Background: The role of occupational prestige, a direct measure of the perceived status of job and job holder, in inflammation is unknown. To contribute to understanding the pathways by which socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with inflammation, we aimed to estimate the direct effects of education, income and occupational prestige on C-reactive protein (CRP) and to describe the relationship between these markers and CRP.

Methods: The study was based on 2026 post-menopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative-Observational Study. Occupational prestige was determined by linking a text description of longest held occupation with a social status item from the Occupational Information Network. Path analysis was employed to estimate direct and mediated effects.

Results: The study suggests that higher levels of education, income, and occupational prestige are associated with 8% (95% CI as percentage change −12, −4), 5% [95% CI (−8, −2) and 4% (95% CI − 7, −1)] lower levels of CRP, respectively. The inverse association between education and CRP was explained by the effect of education on income and occupational prestige. The effect of occupational prestige on CRP was independent of mediators in the model.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that education may work to influence CRP primarily through increasing income and occupational prestige and provides evidence that occupational prestige captures a unique aspect of SEP.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1074-1079
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

ID: 188196772