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Women’s economic activity trajectories over the life course: implications for the self-rated health of women aged 64+ in England

Women’s economic activity trajectories over the life course: implications for the self-rated health of women aged 64+ in England
Women’s economic activity trajectories over the life course: implications for the self-rated health of women aged 64+ in England
Background Previous research has highlighted the
importance of accumulated life-course labour market
status and the balancing of multiple roles for
understanding inequalities in health in later life. This
may be particularly important for women, who are
increasingly required to balance work and family life in
liberal welfare contexts, such as in Britain.
Methods This study analyses retrospective life history
data for 2160 women aged 64+ years (born 1909–
1943) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing,
collected in 2006–2007 as part of an ongoing panel
study. Optimal matching and cluster analyses are used to
produce a taxonomy of women’s life-course economic
activity trajectories based on their experiences between
ages 16 and 64 years. This classification is then used in
logistic regression analysis to investigate associations
with self-rated health in later life.
Results A set of five trajectories emerge as the
dominant patterns of women’s economic activity over
the life course for those cohorts of English women born
prior to 1943: (1) full-time workers; (2) family carers; (3)
full-time returners; (4) part-time returners; (5) atypical/
inactive. Regression analyses show that women who
experience defined periods of full-time work both before
and after focusing on family life appear to have the most
favourable later life health outcomes.
Conclusions The findings are discussed with reference
to the accumulation of social and economic resources
over the life course and the balancing of multiple roles
in work and family domains. In conclusion, the
development of policies that facilitate women, if they
wish, to successfully combine paid employment with
family life could
0143-005X
873-879
Stone, Juliet
e90cfda9-64e9-4619-8a16-911312a0a965
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
Vlachantoni, Athina
06a52fbb-f2a0-4c81-9fbc-d6efc736c6cb
Stone, Juliet
e90cfda9-64e9-4619-8a16-911312a0a965
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
Vlachantoni, Athina
06a52fbb-f2a0-4c81-9fbc-d6efc736c6cb

Stone, Juliet, Evandrou, Maria, Falkingham, Jane and Vlachantoni, Athina (2015) Women’s economic activity trajectories over the life course: implications for the self-rated health of women aged 64+ in England. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 69 (9), 873-879. (doi:10.1136/jech-2014-204777).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background Previous research has highlighted the
importance of accumulated life-course labour market
status and the balancing of multiple roles for
understanding inequalities in health in later life. This
may be particularly important for women, who are
increasingly required to balance work and family life in
liberal welfare contexts, such as in Britain.
Methods This study analyses retrospective life history
data for 2160 women aged 64+ years (born 1909–
1943) from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing,
collected in 2006–2007 as part of an ongoing panel
study. Optimal matching and cluster analyses are used to
produce a taxonomy of women’s life-course economic
activity trajectories based on their experiences between
ages 16 and 64 years. This classification is then used in
logistic regression analysis to investigate associations
with self-rated health in later life.
Results A set of five trajectories emerge as the
dominant patterns of women’s economic activity over
the life course for those cohorts of English women born
prior to 1943: (1) full-time workers; (2) family carers; (3)
full-time returners; (4) part-time returners; (5) atypical/
inactive. Regression analyses show that women who
experience defined periods of full-time work both before
and after focusing on family life appear to have the most
favourable later life health outcomes.
Conclusions The findings are discussed with reference
to the accumulation of social and economic resources
over the life course and the balancing of multiple roles
in work and family domains. In conclusion, the
development of policies that facilitate women, if they
wish, to successfully combine paid employment with
family life could

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 25 March 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 April 2015
Published date: 11 August 2015
Organisations: Social Sciences, Gerontology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 376905
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/376905
ISSN: 0143-005X
PURE UUID: 2c422227-a165-490a-a242-8f730848f0ce
ORCID for Maria Evandrou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2115-9358
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875
ORCID for Athina Vlachantoni: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1539-3057

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 May 2015 11:03
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:52

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Contributors

Author: Juliet Stone
Author: Maria Evandrou ORCID iD
Author: Jane Falkingham ORCID iD

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