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Gender and inequalities in health in later life

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  • Arber, Sara
  • Ginn, Jay
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    Abstract

    Little research attention has been given to examining inequalities in the health of elderly women and men, in spite of their high use of health services and the importance of health to maintaining independence in later life. This paper uses data from the British General Household Survey to analyse the variation in health of elderly women and men by class and material circumstances. Two measures of health are used; self-assessed health and functional disability. Elderly women assess their own health less positively than men, and are seriously disadvantaged compared to men in terms of functional disability. Class based on the individual's own previous main occupation is strongly associated with the two measures of health for elderly women and men at all ages. For elderly women, an 'individualistic' approach, using the women's own last occupation, is compared with the 'conventional' approach of measuring class, which for married women uses their husband's last occupation and for other women their own last occupation. Using the two approaches makes little difference to the strength of association between class and health. Elderly women and men who live in advantaged material circumstances, in terms of income, car ownership and housing tenure, report significantly better health, after controlling for age and class. Level of functional disability is influenced by previous position in the labour market but not current material circumstances. Although elderly women suffer greater morbidity than elderly men, structural inequalities in health are equally pronounced for women and men in later life.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 36 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 33-46

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:36:y:1993:i:1:p:33-46

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    Keywords: gender inequalities elderly people;

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    Cited by:
    1. Manoj K. Pandey, 2013. "Elderly's Health Shocks and Household's Ex-ante Poverty in India," ASARC Working Papers 2013-01, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    2. Catherine Ross & Ryan Masters & Robert Hummer, 2012. "Education and the Gender Gaps in Health and Mortality," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 1157-1183, November.
    3. Manoj K Pandey, 2009. "Labor Force Participation among Indian Elderly: Does Health Matter?," Working Papers id:1987, eSocialSciences.
    4. Mielck, Andreas, 1998. "Perception of health inequalities in different social classes, by health professionals and health policy makers in Germany and the United Kingdom," Discussion Papers, Research Group Public Health P 98-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Steven G. Prus & Ellen Gee, 2001. "Measuring Differences in the Effect of Social Resource Factors on the Health of Elderly Canadian Men and Women," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 58, McMaster University.
    6. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "Labor force participation among Indian elderly: does health matter?," MPRA Paper 15394, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Sharifah Haron & Deanna Sharpe & Jariah Masud & Mohamed Abdel-Ghany, 2010. "Health Divide: Economic and Demographic Factors Associated with Self-Reported Health Among Older Malaysians," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 328-337, September.
    8. Steven G. Prus & Ellen Gee, 2002. "Gender Differences in the Influence of Economic, Lifestyle, and Psychosocial Factors on Later-life Health," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 76, McMaster University.

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