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Adult life experiences and health in early old age in Great Britain

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  • Grundy, Emily
  • Holt, Gemma
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    Abstract

    In Britain and other developed countries older people comprise a large majority of all those reporting long term illness or disability. However, most studies of socio-demographic variations in health have focussed on those in younger age groups. Moreover approaches to the study of health variations are often fragmented. In this study we have adopted a life course approach to analyse differentials in health in early old age. The data comes from the Retirement and Retirement Plans Survey and follow-up, a two-wave study of persons aged 55-69 in 1988/9. As well as information on current circumstances, the data set includes occupational, marital, and fertility history information. At baseline a nationally representative sample of the population of Great Britain were interviewed at home by trained interviewers (n=3543). The sample was followed up and in 1994, 2247 survivors were re-interviewed, a response rate of 70% (of survivors). The data were weighted to adjust for non-response bias. Two outcome measures were used: self rated health and presence or absence of disability assessed from a scale derived from detailed questions on thirteen domains of disability. The severity score used was that developed for the 1985/6 ONS Surveys of Disability. The findings indicate that health and disability status at baseline and at follow up were associated with socio-economic and geographic variables, such as proportion of adult life spent unemployed and residence outside the Southeast of England; demographic factors, such as early age at marriage and high parity; and experience of adverse events, such as the death of a child and being dismissed from work. The results show that socio-economic, demographic, and geographical and 'life events' factors are all associated with health status in early old age and that integrated, rather than bifurcated, approaches to the study of health differentials are needed.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-40FG711-C/2/29780a117c69114f4c728012098b38a0
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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 51 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 7 (October)
    Pages: 1061-1074

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:7:p:1061-1074

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    Keywords: Socio-economic status inequality Life events Elderly Disability Social class Great Britain;

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    Cited by:
    1. Thomas Barnay & François Legendre, 2012. "Simultaneous causality between health status and employment status within the population aged 30-59 in France," Working Papers halshs-00856217, HAL.
    2. Bender, Keith A. & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Controlling for endogeneity in the health-socioeconomic status relationship of the near retired," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 977-987, December.
    3. Bender, Keith A. & Habermalz, Steffen, 2005. "Are There Differences in the Health-Socioeconomic Status Relationship over the Life Cycle? Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1560, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Cooper, D. & McCausland, W.D. & Theodossiou, I., 2006. "The health hazards of unemployment and poor education: The socioeconomic determinants of health duration in the European Union," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 273-297, December.

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