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The importance of low control at work and home on depression and anxiety: do these effects vary by gender and social class?


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  • Griffin, Joan M.
  • Fuhrer, Rebecca
  • Stansfeld, Stephen A.
  • Marmot, Michael
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    In this study we consider both a gender model, a model that focuses on the stress associated with social roles and conditions in the home environment, and a job model, which addresses the stressful characteristics of the work environment, to investigate patterns of women's and men's psychological morbidity across different social positions. Using data from the Whitehall II Study, a longitudinal study of British civil servants, we hypothesise that a lack of control in the home and work environments affects depression and anxiety differently for women and men and across three social class groups. Both women and men with low control either at work or at home had an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. We did not find an interaction between low control at home and work. We did, however, find that the risks associated with low control either at home or work were not evenly distributed across different social positions, measured by employment grade. Women in the lowest or middle employment grades who also reported low control at work or home were at most risk for depression and anxiety. Men in the middle grade with low work control were at risk for depression while those in the lowest grade were at risk for anxiety. Men in the middle and highest grades, however, were at greatest risk for both outcomes if they reported low control at home. We conclude that, in addition to social roles and characteristics of the work environment, future investigations of gender inequalities in health incorporate variables associated with control at home and social position.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 54 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 5 (March)
    Pages: 783-798

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:5:p:783-798

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    Keywords: Depression Anxiety health inequalities Gender inequalities control Work home;


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    Cited by:
    1. Christopher J. Boyce & Andrew J. Oswald, 2012. "Do people become healthier after being promoted?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(5), pages 580-596, 05.
    2. repec:hit:cisdps:575 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Vani K. Borooah, 2007. "Health and Wealth in the North of Ireland: Is There a “Social Gradient” to Health Outcomes?," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 38(1), pages 85-105.
    4. Johnston, David W. & Lee, Wang-Sheng, 2012. "Extra Status and Extra Stress: Are Promotions Good for Us?," IZA Discussion Papers 6675, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Borooah, Vani, 2010. "Inequality in health outcomes in India: the role of caste and religion," MPRA Paper 19832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Sen, Gita & Iyer, Aditi, 2012. "Who gains, who loses and how: Leveraging gender and class intersections to secure health entitlements," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(11), pages 1802-1811.
    7. Hill, Terrence D. & Needham, Belinda L., 2013. "Rethinking gender and mental health: A critical analysis of three propositions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 83-91.
    8. Vani Borooah, 2006. "What Makes People Happy? Some Evidence from Northern Ireland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 427-465, November.
    9. Antonio Rodríguez & Sunny Collings & Ping Qin, 2008. "Socio-economic differences in suicide risk vary by sex : A population-based case-control study of 18-65 year olds in Denmark," Development Research Working Paper Series 05/2008, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.


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