Building on previous multilevel studies in social epidemiology, this cross-sectional study examines, simultaneously, the contextual effects of workplace exploitation and area-of-residence economic inequality on social inequalities in health among low-income nursing assistants. A total of 868 nursing assistants recruited from 55 nursing homes in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia were surveyed between 1999 and 2001. Using a cross-classified multilevel design, the authors tested the effects of area-of-residence (income inequality and racial segregation), workplace (type of nursing home ownership and managerial pressure), and individual-level (age, gender, race/ethnicity, health insurance, length of employment, social support, type of nursing unit, preexisting psychopathology, physical health, education, and income) variables on health (self-reported health and activity limitations) and behavioral outcomes (alcohol use and caffeine consumption). Findings reveal that overall health was associated with both workplace exploitation and area-of-residence income inequality; area of residence was associated with activity limitations and binge drinking; and workplace exploitation was associated with caffeine consumption. This study explicitly accounts for the multiple contextual structure and effects of economic inequality on health. More work is necessary to replicate the current findings and establish robust conclusions on workplace and area of residence that might help inform interventions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy