IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The inconsistent mediating effects of psychosocial work characteristics on the education–health relationship

Listed author(s):
  • Qiu, Hanyao
  • Bures, Regina
  • Shehan, Constance L.
Registered author(s):

    This study examined the relationship between psychosocial work characteristics and educational disparities in health. Informed by the evidence on the relationship between work pressure and higher education, we suggested reframing the distribution of psychosocial work characteristics in the context of education. We differentiated psychosocial work resources from demands and hypothesized that the inconsistent mediation effects of psychosocial resources and demands are associated with educational status. Using data from the 2008 National Study of Changing Workforce (NSCW), we found that psychosocial work resources and demands had inconsistent mediating effects on the education–health relationship. Higher educated employees were more likely to report autonomy, challenge and schedule control, but they were also more likely to experience overtime hours, job overload and work–family conflict. Work resources appeared to protect higher-educated workers from stress and health problems while work demands put them at risk of less favorable health outcomes. In addition we found that the ‘costs’ of psychosocial work demands were stronger among women, particularly those who were highly educated, suggesting that highly educated women did not reap the full health benefit of high educational attainment. Our findings illustrate that the observed positive associations between education and health mask important heterogeneity in the effects of psychosocial work characteristics. We discuss the implications of this study for health and family-based work policies.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

    Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 8 ()
    Pages: 1539-1546

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:8:p:1539-1546
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.06.008
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Plaisier, Inger & de Bruijn, Jeanne G.M. & de Graaf, Ron & Have, Margreet ten & Beekman, Aartjan T.F. & Penninx, Brenda W.J.H., 2007. "The contribution of working conditions and social support to the onset of depressive and anxiety disorders among male and female employees," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 401-410, January.
    2. Mark Wooden & Diana Warren & Robert Drago, 2009. "Working Time Mismatch and Subjective Well-being," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 47(1), pages 147-179, March.
    3. Borg, Vilhelm & Kristensen, Tage S., 2000. "Social class and self-rated health: can the gradient be explained by differences in life style or work environment?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1019-1030, October.
    4. Borrell, Carme & Muntaner, Carles & Benach, Joan & Artazcoz, Lucía, 2004. "Social class and self-reported health status among men and women: what is the role of work organisation, household material standards and household labour?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1869-1887, May.
    5. Warren, John Robert & Hoonakker, Peter & Carayon, Pascale & Brand, Jennie, 2004. "Job characteristics as mediators in SES-health relationships," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 1367-1378, October.
    6. Schieman, Scott & Reid, Sarah, 2009. "Job authority and health: Unraveling the competing suppression and explanatory influences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 1616-1624, December.
    7. Monden, Christiaan W.S., 2005. "Current and lifetime exposure to working conditions. Do they explain educational differences in subjective health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(11), pages 2465-2476, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:8:p:1539-1546. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.