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Analysis of factors contributing to occupational health inequality in Korea: a cross-sectional study using nationally representative survey data

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Issue Date
2021-06-23
Publisher
BMC
Citation
Archives of Public Health. 2021 Jun 23;79(1):113
Keywords
Health inequalitiesMortalityOccupationsPsychologyRepublic of KoreaRisk factorsSocioeconomic factors
Abstract
Background
Despite the consensus that higher occupational classes tend to have better health and lower mortality rates, one study has reported reversed occupational gradients in mortality rates among Korean men after the economic crisis in the late 2000s. To examine these patterns of health inequality in more detail, we investigated the tendency of occupational gradients in socioeconomic position and multiple pathway indicators known to affect mortality in Korea.

Methods
We used data from 4176 men aged 35–64 in Korea derived from the 2007–2009 and 2013–2015 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. We compared the age-standardized prevalence and age-adjusted mean values of each contributing factor to health inequality among occupational groups, which are divided into upper non-manual workers, lower non-manual workers, manual workers, and others. Contributing factors included childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position indicators, biological risk factors, health behaviors, psychosocial factors, and work environment.

Results
Upper non-manual workers had prominently higher levels of education, income, parental education, and economic activity than lower non-manual and manual workers. The rates of smoking and high-risk alcohol consumption were lower, and the rate of weight control activities was higher, in the non-manual classes. Further, the rates of depression and suicidal ideation were lower, and perceptions of the work environment were more favorable, among non-manual workers than among their manual counterparts.

Conclusions
We detected occupational inequality in a wide range of socioeconomic positions and pathway indicators in Korea with consistently favorable patterns for upper non-manual workers. These occupational gradients do not support the previously reported reversed pattern of higher mortality rates in non-manual groups versus in the manual job class in Korea.
ISSN
2049-3258
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/174798
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1186/s13690-021-00638-9
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College of Medicine/School of Medicine (의과대학/대학원)Health Policy and Management (의료관리학전공)Journal Papers (저널논문_의료관리학전공)
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