Abstract Background Rates of binge drinking have nearly doubled among US women ages 30–49 since 2006. Employment influences alcohol use and varies by the prestige and structure (e.g., authority, autonomy, expertise) of one’s occupation. Methods We examined trends in binge drinking among adults ages 30–49 in the labor force in 2006–2018 National Health Interview Surveys (N = 108,981) by occupation, work prestige (General Social Survey’s occupational prestige score), work structure (occupational authority, autonomy, automation, expertise), and gender.
The United States has largely failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike other countries that have eliminated community transmission or suppressed it to low levels, US officials have allowed high levels of the virus to circulate and tolerated the subsequent mass death that has accompanied such a lax public health approach. In addition to needless, preventable sickness and death, another consequence of this state failure has been to shift the moral burden of pandemic decisionmaking onto individuals.
How does capitalism make us anxious and depressed? Our work explores how the social division and structure of labor influences population mental health. We draw on social theory to better operationalize social factors as dynamic relational processes rather than individual attributes.
Social epidemiology’s traditional measures of socioeconomic status, like income and education, are the downstream outcomes of dynamic social processes, and do not shed light on the mechanisms generating social stratification in the first place. Our work looks upstream to such mechanisms, specifically economic exploitation and domination.
Our research finds that unconcealed exploitation (not being paid for productive hours) is associated with mental illness; that people in contradictory class locations suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety; and that occupations with lower autonomy, authority, and expertise, and higher automation, are associated with mental illness and substance use.
Abstract Previous research has described the criminal justice system as a “labor market institution.” In recent years, however, research on the relationship between the criminal justice system and the labor market has focused primarily on the negative impact of criminal justice involvement on an individual’s ability to find work postrelease. This article explores how workers’ exposure to the criminal justice system is related to labor organization—a labor market institution through which workers in the United States have secured benefits for themselves and that, structurally, has mitigated income inequality.
Abstract Applying a relational class theory based on property ownership, authority, and credentials/skill, we analyzed the relationship between class, self-rated health (SRH), and mortality using the 1972–2016 General Social Survey. In a simple measure of class, we assigned respondents to worker, manager, petty bourgeois, or capitalist classes. In a complex measure, we subdivided workers (less-skilled/more-skilled), managers (low/high), and capitalists (small/large). Next, we estimated trends in class structure.
Abstract Background: Social stratification is a well-documented determinant of mental health. Traditional measures of stratification (e.g., socioeconomic status) reduce dynamic social processes to individual attributes downstream of mechanisms that generate stratification. In this study, we measure one process theorized to generate and reproduce social stratification—economic exploitation—and explore its association with mental health. Methods: Data are from the 1983 to 2017 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative cohort study (base- line N = 3059).
Abstract BACKGROUND: We draw on a relational theoretical perspective to investigate how the social division and structure of labor are associated with serious and moderate mental illness and binge and heavy drinking. METHODS: The Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Occupational Information Network were linked to explore how occupation, the productivity-to-pay gap, unemployment, the gendered division of domestic labor, and factor-analytic and theory-derived dimensions of work are related to mental illness and drinking outcomes.
Abstract Background: Women’s social roles (partnership, parenthood, and worker status) are associated with health, with more roles being associated with lower mortality rates. Few studies have examined social roles using a lifecourse perspective to understand how changing role dynamics affect health over time. Sequence analysis is one analytic technique for examining social trajectories. Methods: Work-family trajectories were determined using social sequence analysis. We estimated mortality using age-standardized mortality rates and Poisson regression and examined the impact of personal income as a mediator.
Abstract Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are more prevalent among women than men. This disparity may be partially due to the effects of structural gender discrimination in the work force, which acts to perpetuate gender differences in opportunities and resources and may manifest as the gender wage gap. We sought to quantify and operationalize the wage gap in order to explain the gender disparity in depression and anxiety disorders, using data from a 2001-2002 US nationally representative survey of 22,581 working adults ages 30-65.
Abstract Despite a well-established social gradient for many mental disorders, there is evidence that individuals near the middle of the social hierarchy suffer higher rates of depression and anxiety than those at the top or bottom. Although prevailing indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) cannot detect or easily explain such patterns, relational theories of social class, which emphasise political-economic processes and dimensions of power, might. We test whether the relational construct of contradictory class location, which embodies aspects of both ownership and labour, can explain this nonlinear pattern.
Abstract Most population health researchers conceptualize social class as a set of attributes and material conditions of life of individuals. The empiricist tradition of ‘class as an individual attribute’ equates class to an ‘observation’, precluding the investigation of unobservable social mechanisms. Another consequence of this view of social class is that it cannot be conceptualized, measured, or intervened upon at the meso- or macro levels, being reduced to a personal attribute.
Abstract This study tests whether social class exploitation operates as a relational mechanism that generates mental health inequalities in the nursing home industry. We ask, does social class exploitation (i.e., the acquisition of economic benefits from the labor of those who are dominated) have a systematic and predictable impact on depression among nursing assistants? Using cross-sectional data from 868 nursing assistants employed in 50 nursing homes in three U.