Status inconsistency and mental health: A random effects and instrumental variables analysis using 14 annual waves of cohort data

Allison Milner, Zoe Aitken, Anne M Kavanagh, Anthony D. LaMontagne, Dennis Petrie

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Status inconsistency refers to a discrepancy between the position a person holds in one domain of their social environment comparative to their position in another domain. For example, the experience of being overeducated for a job, or not using your skills in your job. We sought to assess the relationship between status inconsistency and mental health using 14 annual waves of cohort data. We used two approaches to measuring status inconsistency: 1) being overeducated for your job (objective measure); and b) not using your skills in your job (subjective measure). We implemented a number of methodological approaches to assess the robustness of our findings, including instrumental variable, random effects, and fixed effects analysis. Mental health was assessed using the Mental Health Inventory-5. The random effects analysis indicates that only the subjective measure of status inconsistency was associated with a slight decrease in mental health (β−1.57, 95% −1.78 to −1.36, p < 0.001). This size of these coefficients was maintained in the instrumental variable analysis. We suggest that status inconsistency might explain some of the relationship between social determinants (such as work and education) and health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Education
  • Job stressors
  • Mental health
  • Occupation
  • Social status
  • Socio-economic

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