Health and gender differences between middle and senior managers in the Canadian Public Service

Soc Sci Med. 1997 Nov;45(10):1589-96. doi: 10.1016/s0277-9536(97)00096-8.


Most studies of the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health have concentrated on disparities between the richest and poorest men; few studies have examined such relationships for women due to difficulties in measuring SES for women. For the present study, data collected from Canadian Public Service middle and senior managers provided an opportunity to examine associations between SES and health within the upper end of the SES spectrum for both genders, since women managers can be assumed to have a relatively high SES. Demographic, health and lifestyle characteristics are compared for middle and senior managers for each gender separately to determine whether women experience the health benefits associated with higher SES that have been previously observed for men. The results support the hypothesis that achieving a higher SES through work is a more stressful process for women than for men and that women's upward mobility is restricted compared to that of men. Despite these findings, there is little evidence that women's health has been adversely affected. Compared to male managers, fewer female managers smoke or drink and fewer have high body mass index, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. Female managers are also more likely to report being in good health.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / classification
  • Administrative Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Sector / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class*
  • Type A Personality
  • Women's Health*
  • Women, Working / statistics & numerical data*


  • Cholesterol