The Role of Work Characteristics in Differentiating Trajectories of Health in Later Life

Michal Engelman, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Heide Jackson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This study characterizes heterogeneous trajectories of health among older Americans and investigates how employment histories differentiate them. Using the Health and Retirement Study, we examine the impact of occupations on patterns of limitations in activities of daily living for women and men between 1996-2010. Preliminary results from Growth Mixture Models depict four trajectory classes that change nonlinearly: one with no baseline limitations but a subsequent sharp increase, a second with few and steadily rising limitations, a third with individuals who do not develop limitations, and a fourth characterized by some baseline limitations and subsequent recovery. HRS Men engaged in managerial, professional, and sales occupations were least likely to be in the trajectory class with a high number of limitations. Our next steps are to add detailed data on job characteristics from the O*NET repository, incorporate time-varying covariates into the models, and compare results across genders and HRS cohorts.

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Presented in Session 57: Demography of Disability