Domestic labour, paid employment and women's health: analysis of life course data

Soc Sci Med. 2001 Mar;52(6):959-65. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(00)00188-x.


The relationship between the amount of domestic labour performed by a woman during her lifetime and a variety of self-reported and objective measures of her health in early old age was examined in the female members (n = 155) of a data set containing considerable life course information, including full household, residential and occupational histories. Domestic labour, on its own, proved a weak predictor of health. The relationship strengthened when domestic labour was combined with the hazards of the formal paid employment which the woman had performed. This suggests that it is the combination of domestic labour plus paid employment which influences women's health. The robustness of this conclusion is indicated by its agreement with other studies which reached the same conclusion through an analysis of data with markedly different characteristics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Forecasting
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Housekeeping*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Social Class
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*
  • Work*