Journal article Open Access

Neo-Marxian social class inequalities in the mental well-being of employed men and women: the role of European welfare regimes

De Moortel, Deborah; Palència, Laia; Artazcoz, Lucía; Borrell, Carme; Vanroelen, Christophe

The relation between "neo-Marxian" social class (NMSC) and health in the working population has received considerable attention in public health research. However, less is known about the distribution of mental well-being according to NMSC in a European context. The objectives of this study are (i) to analyse the association of mental well-being and NMSC among employees in Europe (using a welfare regime typology), (ii) to investigate whether the relation between NMSC and mental well-being is the same in women compared to men within each welfare regime, and (iii) to examine within each welfare regime the role of the gender division of labour and job quality as potential mediating factors in explaining this association. Data from the European Social Survey Round 5 (2010) were analysed. Mental well-being was assessed by the WHO Well-being Index. Social class was measured through E.O. Wright's social class scheme. Models separated by sex were generated using Poisson regression with a robust error variance. The associations were presented as prevalence ratios with 95% confidence intervals. Women reported NMSC differences in mental well-being in State corporatist/family support and Southern welfare regimes. Menreported NMSC differences in mental well-being in all but the Basic security/market-oriented welfare regimes. Gender inequalities were more marked and widespread in Basic security/market-oriented welfare regimes. In all welfare regimes job quality (partly) explained NMSC inequalities in mental well-being for men, the role of the gender division of labour was unclear. This study showed that the relationship between NMSC and mental well-being among employees differs by gender and welfare regimes. It confirms the importance of NMSC and welfare regimes to explain gender and social class inequalities in mental well-being.

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