Gender differences in the relationship of partner's social class to behavioural risk factors and social support in the Whitehall II study
AbstractIn most countries health inequality in women appears to be greater when their socio-economic position is measured according to the occupation of male partners or spouses than the women's own occupations. Very few studies show social gradients in men's health according to the occupation of their female partners. This paper aims to explore the reasons for the differences in social inequality in cardiovascular disease between men and women by analysing the associations between own or spouses (or partners) socio-economic position and a set of risk factors for prevalent chronic diseases. Study participants were married or cohabiting London based civil servants included in the Whitehall II study. Socio-economic position of study participants was measured according to civil service grade; socio-economic position of the spouses and partners according to the Registrar General's social class schema. Risk factors were smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and measures of social support. In no case was risk factor exposure more affected by the socio-economic position of a female partner than that of a male study participant. Wives' social class membership made no difference at all to the likelihood that male Whitehall participants were smokers, or took little exercise. Female participants' exercise and particularly smoking habit was, in contrast, related to their spouse's social class independently of their own grade of employment. Diet quality was affected equally by the socio-economic position of both male and female partners. Unlike the behavioural risk factors, the degree of social support reported by women participants was in general not strongly negatively affected by their husband or partner being in a less advantaged social class. However, non-employment in the husband or partner was associated with relatively lower levels of positive, and higher negative social support, while men with non-working wives or partners were unaffected. Studying gender differences in health inequality highlights some of the problems in health inequality research more broadly. We are brought face to face with the fact that the development of conceptual models that can be applied consistently to aetiology in both men and women are still at an early stage of development. Closer attention is needed to the different processes behind material power and 'emotional power' within the household when investigating gender differences in health and risk factors.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 59 (2004)
Issue (Month): 9 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.