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J Health Soc Behav. 1993 Dec;34(4):363-80.

Worklives and longevity: insights from a life course perspective.

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Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


Recent research on work stress has focused heavily on how the demands and rewards of single jobs influence health or mortality, but has left the implications of broader patterns of worklives largely uninvestigated. Life history data from the Stanford-Terman study is used in this research to explore patterns of career mobility among middle-class men and the implications of these patterns for their longevity. While relatively few men in this study experienced a period in which they moved through a series of unrelated jobs, those who did had a higher mortality risk. Similarly, men who progressed early in their careers but then remained stable in later periods tended to be at a greater risk than those who progressed in both time periods. Health and lifestyle measures were also significant predictors of mortality risk, but did not account for the observed impact of worklife patterns on mortality. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the work-health relationship.

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