Relational Social Class, Self-Rated Health, and Mortality in the United States

By Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot, Seth J. Prins in Class conflict and public health

January 1, 2020


January 1, 2020


12:00 AM


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. Finally, after gender-stratification, we estimated the relationships between class, SRH, and mortality and, in sensitivity analyses, tested for class-by-race interaction. Class structure changed little over time, with workers constituting over half the population each decade. Concerning SRH, for the simple measure, managers, petty bourgeoisie, and capitalists reported better health than workers. For the complex measure, patterns were similar, although skilled workers reported better health than less-skilled workers, low managers, and petty bourgeoisie. Concerning mortality, for the simple measure, inequities were small among women; among men, only capitalists’ hazard was lower than workers’ hazard. For the complex measure, across genders, the hazards of less-skilled workers and petty bourgeoisie were highest, while skilled workers’ hazard resembled that of managers and capitalists. Finally, we found some evidence that the relationship between class and mortality varied by race, although the estimates were imprecise.

Posted on:
January 1, 2020
1 minute read, 206 words
Class conflict and public health
Adult Continental Population Groups epidemiology health inequities Health Status Humans Middle Aged Mortality neo-Marxist Occupations Politics Self Report Sex Factors social class Social Class Socioeconomic Factors United States
See Also:
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Connecting the Dots Between Mass Incarceration, Health Inequity, and Climate Change
Mental Illness, Drinking, and the Social Division and Structure of Labor in the United States: 2003-2015