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Do social comparisons explain the association between income inequality and health?: Relative deprivation and perceived health among male and female Japanese individuals

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  • Kondo, Naoki
  • Kawachi, Ichiro
  • Subramanian, S.V.
  • Takeda, Yasuhisa
  • Yamagata, Zentaro
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    Abstract

    Relative deprivation has been hypothesized as one of the pathways accounting for the link between income inequality and health. We tested this hypothesis in a large national sample of men and women in Japan. Our survey included a probability sample of 22,871 men and 24,243 women aged 25-64, from whom information was gathered on demographic variables, household income, occupation or employment status, and self-rated health. Our measure of relative deprivation was the Yitzhaki Index, which calculates the deprivation suffered by each individual as a function of the aggregate income shortfall for each person relative to everyone else with higher incomes in that person's reference group. We modeled several alternative reference groups, including others with the same occupation, others of the same age group, and others living in the same geographic area (prefecture), as well as combinations of these. Generalized estimating equations demonstrated that higher relative deprivation was associated with worse self-rated health. Even after controlling for absolute income as well as other sociodemographic factors, the odds ratio and its 95% confidence intervals (CI) for poor health ranged from 1.09 (95% CI: 1.02-1.16) to 1.18 (95% CI: 1.11-1.26) for men and from 1.10 (95% CI: 1.04-1.16) to 1.16 (95% CI: 1.09-1.23) for women per 1 million increase in the Yitzhaki Index. As such, relative income deprivation is associated with poor self-rated health independently of absolute income, and relative deprivation may be a mechanism underlying the link between income inequality and population health.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 67 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 6 (September)
    Pages: 982-987

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:67:y:2008:i:6:p:982-987

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    Keywords: Japan Psychosocial deprivation Relative deprivation Income inequality Pathways;

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    Cited by:
    1. Oshio, Takashi & Umeda, Maki & Fujii, Mayu, 2012. "The association between income dynamics and subjective well-being: Evidence from career income records in Japan," CIS Discussion paper series 564, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Sun, Ping & Unger, Jennifer B. & Palmer, Paula & Ma, Huiyan & Xie, Bin & Sussman, Steve & Johnson, C. Anderson, 2012. "Relative income inequality and selected health outcomes in urban Chinese youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 84-91.
    3. Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2012. "Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 129-137.
    4. Saito, Masashige & Kondo, Naoki & Kondo, Katsunori & Ojima, Toshiyuki & Hirai, Hiroshi, 2012. "Gender differences on the impacts of social exclusion on mortality among older Japanese: AGES cohort study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(5), pages 940-945.
    5. Zheng, Hui & George, Linda K., 2012. "Rising U.S. income inequality and the changing gradient of socioeconomic status on physical functioning and activity limitations, 1984–2007," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2170-2182.
    6. Eiji Yamamura, 2010. "Different effects of social capital on health status among residents: evidence from modern Japan," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2010_29, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    7. Kuo, Chun-Tung & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2013. "The association between relative deprivation and self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and smoking behavior in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 39-44.
    8. Alcántara, Carmela & Chen, Chih-Nan & Alegría, Margarita, 2014. "Do post-migration perceptions of social mobility matter for Latino immigrant health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 94-106.
    9. Alexander Miething, 2013. "The Relevance of Objective and Subjective Social Position for Self-Rated Health: A Combined Approach for the Swedish Context," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 161-173, March.
    10. Hackbarth, Andrew D. & Romley, John A. & Goldman, Dana P., 2011. "Racial and ethnic disparities in hospital care resulting from air pollution in excess of federal standards," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1163-1168.
    11. Harling, Guy & Subramanian, S.V. & Bärnighausen, Till & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2014. "Income inequality and sexually transmitted in the United States: Who bears the burden?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 174-182.
    12. Miething, Alexander, 2013. "A matter of perception: Exploring the role of income satisfaction in the income–mortality relationship in German survey data 1995–2010," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 72-79.

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