Combining job and family demands and being healthy: What are the differences between men and women?

Lucia Artazcoz, Liliana Artieda, Carme Borrell, Imma Cortès, Joan Benach, Vega García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Background: The objective of this study is to analyse gender inequalities in the combination of job and family life and their effect on health status and use of health care services. Methods: The data come from the Navarra Survey of Working Conditions (Spain, 1997) carried out on a sample of 2185 workers. The analysis was restricted to 881 men and 400 women, aged 25-64 years, who were married or cohabiting. Dependent variables were self-perceived health status, psychosomatic symptoms, and medical visits, all of them dichotomized. Independent variables were family demands and number of hours of paid work a week. The analysis was adjusted for age and occupational social class. Multivariate logistic regression models, separated by sex, were fitted in order to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: Family demands were not associated with men's health whereas married women who lived in family units of more than three members had a higher risk of poor self-perceived health status (aOR=4.16; 95% CI: 1.37-12.65) and of psychosomatic symptoms (aOR=2.05; 95% CI: 1.12-3.75). Among women, working more than 40 hours a week was also associated with both health indicators and, additionally, with a higher probability of medical visits. Conclusion: In order to fully understand social determinants of workers' health, besides social class, gender inequalities in the distribution of family responsibilities should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Domestic responsibility
  • Family characteristics
  • Part-time work
  • Sex factors
  • Socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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