Gender career divide and women's disadvantage in depressive symptoms and physical limitations in France
Cambois, Emmanuelle; Garrouste, Clémentine; Pailhé, Ariane (2017), Gender career divide and women's disadvantage in depressive symptoms and physical limitations in France, SSM - Population Health, 3, p. 81-88. 10.1016/j.ssmph.2016.12.008
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
Journal nameSSM - Population Health
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)This study investigated the relationship between women's disadvantage in mental health and physical functioning and gender differences in career backgrounds. Sexual division of labor persists and key career characteristics are overrepresented in women: low-skilled first job, downward occupational trajectory, interruptions. These interrelated characteristics are usually linked to poor health. Their overrepresentation in women may be related to the female-male health gap; however, it may not if overrepresentation transposed into substantially weaker associations with poor health outcomes. To address this question, we used the French population survey “Health and Occupational Trajectories” (2006) and focused on 45–74 year-old individuals who ever worked (n=7537). Past career characteristics were qualified by retrospective information. Logistic regressions identified past characteristics related to current depressive symptoms and physical limitations. Non-linear decomposition showed whether these characteristics contributed to the gender health gap, through their different distribution and/or association with health. The overrepresentation of unskilled first jobs, current and past inactivity and unemployment in women contributed to their excess depressive symptoms. These contributions were only slightly reduced by the weaker mental health-relatedness of current inactivity in women and increased by the stronger relatedness of low-skilled and self-employed first jobs. Overrepresentation of current inactivity, past interruptions and downward trajectories also contributed positively to women's excess physical limitations. Gender-specific career backgrounds were significantly linked to women's disadvantage in mental health and physical functioning. We need to further explore whether equalization of opportunities, especially at the early stages and in terms of career continuity, could help to reduce women’s mental and physical health disadvantage.
Subjects / KeywordsMental health; Functional limitations; Gender; Social determinants; Occupation; Career; Population health; France
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