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Do Work and Family Care Histories Predict Health in Older Women?

Benson, R; Glaser, K; Corna, L; Platts, L; Di Gessa, G; Worts, D; Price, D; ... Sacker, A; + view all (2017) Do Work and Family Care Histories Predict Health in Older Women? European Journal of Public Health , 27 (6) pp. 1010-1015. 10.1093/eurpub/ckx128. Green open access

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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.

Type: Article
Title: Do Work and Family Care Histories Predict Health in Older Women?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx128
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckx128
Language: English
Additional information: The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569399
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