The optimal time to measure occupational status in a cross-sectional study is not clear, and the frequently used "final occupation," or the occupation at the time of death, may not be a good indicator of conditions experienced over the course of the working life (Mare 1990; Moore & Hayward 1990). study found that compared with whites who remained in professional and technical jobs during the entire follow-up period, African American and white males who remained in lower occupational classes or made transitions into lower occupational classes had significantly higher rates of incident hypertension (Waitzman & Smith 1994). Prestige or socioeconomic scales in the study of occupational achievement? Some studies that have used measures of occupational status at several time points have shown that persistently low occupational status or downward status mobility can impact health (Williams 1990). These studies point to the need for a life course approach to occupational status that incorporates risk assessment of a particular job within the context of a career (Pavalko, Elder & Clipp 1993). Finally, occupational status is a promising measure of social position that can provide information about job characteristics, such as environmental and working conditions, decision-making latitude, and psychological demands of the job. Income and prestige gained from an occupation influence health-related behaviors, choice of community setting and social networks, as well as providing the funds to purchase medical care, healthy foods, and a safe living environment. Occupational status is hypothesized to be related to health because (1) it positions individuals within the social structure, which defines access to resources and constraints that can have implications for health and mortality (Mare 1990; Moore and Hayward 1990), and (2) each particular job has its own set of demands and rewards that can influence health, such as physically hazardous or psychologically stressful working conditions (House et al. 1981), as well as effects of the job on lifestyle factors including drinking, smoking, and obesity (Sorenson et al. Members of different occupational groups also vary in risk factor development and health behaviors because selection criteria for recruitment differ across jobs, as do patterns of socialization and the nature of work performed. Occupational status in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Occupational status is one component of socioeconomic status (SES), summarizing the power, income and educational requirements associated with various positions in the occupational structure. Occupational status has several advantages over the other major indicators of SES, which are most commonly educational attainment and personal or family income. Socioeconomic indexes for occupations: a review, update, and critique. First, occupational status reflects the outcome of educational attainment, provides information about the skills and credentials required to obtain a job, and the associated monetary and other rewards. 1971; Mare 1990; Moore & Hayward 1990; Pavalko, Elder & Clipp 1993; Waitzman & Smith 1994). Merely inspecting the correlation between occupational status and health at one point in time may be misleading due to the problem of reverse causation; it is possible that instead of an individual's occupation having an impact on her health, the choice of a particular occupation may actually depend on or be constrained by existing health conditions.