Occupational vs. industry sector classification of the US workforce: Which approach is more strongly associated with worker health outcomes?

Kristopher L. Arheart, Lora E. Fleming, David J. Lee, William G. LeBlanc, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, Manuel A. Ocasio, Kathryn E. McCollister, Sharon L. Christ, Tainya Clarke, Diana Kachan, Evelyn P. Davila, Cristina A. Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Objectives: Through use of a nationally representative database, we examined the variability in both self-rated health and overall mortality risk within occupations across the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Industry Sectors, as well as between the occupations within the NORA Industry sectors. Methods: Using multiple waves of the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) representing an estimated 119,343,749 US workers per year from 1986 to 2004, age-adjusted self-rated health and overall mortality rates were examined by occupation and by NORA Industry Sector. Results: There was considerable variability in the prevalence rate of age-adjusted self-rated poor/fair health and overall mortality rates for all US workers. The variability was greatest when examining these data by the Industry Sectors. In addition, we identified an overall pattern of increased poor/fair self-reported health and increased mortality rates concentrated among particular occupations and particular Industry Sectors. Conclusions: This study suggests that using occupational categories within and across Industry Sectors would improve the characterization of the health status and health disparities of many subpopulations of workers within these Industry Sectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-757
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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