Objective: To analyze the influence of domestic workload on the health of the working population of Catalonia, taking into account its differential impact on males and females.
Subjects and methods: The study population were the 2,164 men and 1,215 women interviewed in the Catalonian Health Survey (ESCA) of 1994, with a paid work who were the main responsible for the family unit. The dependent variable was the self-perceived health status that was dichotomized for the bivariate and multivariate analysis. The domestic workload was measured with the number of people living at home (2, 3, 4 or more than 4), living with children younger than 15 and living with older than 65. The adjusting variables were age and occupational social class. The analysis was separated for men and women and crude, adjusted for age, and for all the predictor variables odds ratios (OR) were calculated with their 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
Results: There was no relation between domestic workload and health status among men. Among women the risk or poor health status increased with the number of people living at home with adjusted OR associated to living with more than four persons of 2.35 (95%CI = 1. 33-4.15), as compared with living only with the spouse. Living with older than 65 was protector for women (adjusted OR = 0.63; 95%CI = 0. 39-1.03).
Conclusions: The risk of poor health status associated to the domestic workload among women with paid work, suggests the need of increasing community resources for caring children, as well as, increasing the participation of men in the domestic work. Future health surveys should collect information about the number of people of different age strata living at home.