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Socioeconomic inequalities in morbidity among the elderly; a European overview

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  • Huisman, Martijn
  • Kunst, Anton E.
  • Mackenbach, Johan P.
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    Abstract

    There is some evidence on socioeconomic inequality in morbidity among elderly people, but this evidence remains fragmentary. This study aims to give a comprehensive overview of educational and income inequalities in morbidity among the elderly of eleven European countries. Data from the first wave of 1994 of the European Community Household Panel were used. The study population comprised a total of 14,107 men and 17,243 women, divided into three age groups: 60-69, 70-79 and 80+. Three health indicators were used: self-assessed health, cut down in daily activities due to a physical or mental problem, and long-term disability. The results indicate that socioeconomic inequalities in morbidity by education and income exist among the elderly in Europe, in all the countries in this study and all age groups, including the oldest old. Inequalities decline with age among women, but not always among men. Greece, Ireland, Italy and The Netherlands most often show large inequalities among men, and Greece, Ireland and Spain do so among women. To conclude, inequalities in morbidity decrease with age, but a substantive part persists in old age. To improve the health of elderly people it is important that the material, social and cultural resources of the elderly are improved.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 57 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 5 (September)
    Pages: 861-873

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:5:p:861-873

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    Keywords: Elderly Self-assessed health Morbidity Socioeconomic factors International overview Europe;

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    Cited by:
    1. Rasmus Hoffmann, 2004. "Does the impact of socioeconomic status on mortality decrease with increasing age?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2004-016, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2012. "Socioeconomic Inequalities and Self-Rated Health: A Multilevel Study of Italian Elderly," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 97-117, February.
    3. Eibhlin Hudson & David Madden & Irene Mosca, 2014. "A formal investigation of inequalities in health behaviours after age 50 on the Island of Ireland," Working Papers 201402, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Adena, Maja & Myck, Michal, 2013. "Poverty and transitions in health," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-307, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Sören Edvinsson & Göran Broström, 2012. "Old age, health and social inequality," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(23), pages 633-660, June.
    6. Bakshi, Sanjeev & Pathak, Prasanta, 2010. "Social context and the burden of ill health among the older adults in India," MPRA Paper 40463, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Eliana Jimenez & Ignacio Correa-Valez & Richard P.C. Brown, 2008. "Wealthy and Healthy in the South Pacific," Discussion Papers Series 378, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    8. Davin, Bérengère & Paraponaris, Alain & Verger, Pierre, 2009. "Socioeconomic determinants of the need for personal assistance reported by community-dwelling elderly: Empirical evidence from a French national health survey," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 138-146, January.
    9. Elias Mossialos & Sara Allin & Konstantina Davaki, 2005. "Analysing the Greek health system: a tale of fragmentation and inertia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(S1), pages S151-S168.
    10. Semyonov, Moshe & Lewin-Epstein, Noah & Maskileyson, Dina, 2013. "Where wealth matters more for health: The wealth–health gradient in 16 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 10-17.
    11. Eibhlin Hudson & David Madden & Irene Mosca, 2014. "A formal investigation of inequalities in health behaviours after the age 50 on the island of Ireland," Working Papers 201406, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    12. Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2012. "Place of living and health inequality: a study for elderly Italians," Statistical Methods and Applications, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 211-226, June.
    13. Rasmus Hoffmann, 2005. "Does the socioeconomic mortality gradient interact with age? Evidence from US survey data and Danish register data," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-020, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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