“Bad Jobs” and Health: Do Negative Work Exposures Work Together?

Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan

Employment is central to most adults’ lives, providing economic sustenance as well as self-esteem and identity, but some aspects of jobs are harmful. Researchers have explored long-standing and emerging hazards at work, but have focused on the health consequences of one negative aspect of work at a time. Attached to any job are a bundle of exposures, negative and positive, that may act together to influence health. In addition, bad jobs may cluster over the career for some people, particularly those with lower education or fewer skills, while more socioeconomically advantaged individuals may have limited or no exposure. Accumulation of work exposures may help explain the SEP, work and health connection but has received relatively little attention. This study will begin to explore the connections by comparing two large cohort samples and using a variety of methods to examine career exposures and health outcomes over the life course.

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Presented in Session 23: Explaining the SES-Health Gradient