Career Trajectories, Gender Differences and the Reproduction of Health Disparities over the Life Course

Li Zheng, Mississippi State University

Using longitudinal data from PSID and growth curve models, this study examines the dynamic relationship between gender, occupational career and health among people of working age. The major concern is whether there are gender differences in the health returns to occupation/employment resources across life course,and whether health affect men's and women's occupation/employment differently. Results show that women experience significantly poorer health than men, but this health gap reduces with aging. The health disadvantages experienced by women are entirely explained by SES status. Employment becomes increasingly important to maintain health as people age. However, women receive far fewer health rewards from employment than men. The health benefit from a higher occupational status are similar for men and women across life course. Regarding health selection, results show that health is not a predictor of occupational status for either men or women, but is an important predictor for employment status of both genders.

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Presented in Session 184: Gender Health Disparities