Objectives. We derived trajectories of the substantive complexity (SC) of work across mid-adult life in women and determined their association with term birth weight. SC is a concept that encompasses decision latitude, active learning, and ability to use and expand one's abilities at work. Methods. Using occupational data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and O*NET work variables, we used growth mixture modeling (GMM) to construct longitudinal trajectories of work SC from the ages of 18 to 34 years. The association between work trajectories and birth weight of infants born to study participants was modeled using generalized estimating equations, adjusting for education, income, and relevant covariates. Results. GMM yielded a 5-class solution for work trajectories in women. Higher work trajectories were associated with higher term birth weight and were robust to the inclusion of both education and income. A work trajectory that showed a sharp rise after age 24 years was associated with marked improvement in birth weight. Conclusions. Longitudinal modeling of work characteristics might improve capacity to integrate occupation into a life-course model that examines antecedents and consequences for maternal and child health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health