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Poverty Status, Health Behaviours, and Health: Implications for Social Assistance and Health Care Policy


  • Deanna L. Williamson
  • Janet E. Fast


This study investigated the relationships among poverty status, health behaviours, and the health of 130 Albertans living in poor families. For the purposes of this study, poverty status indicated whether poor families were receiving social assistance along with comprehensive health care benefits or whether they were working poor without comprehensive health care benefits. Findings from seven separate path analyses indicate that poverty status was differentially related to the health of participants. Specifically, working poor respondents were found to be generally healthier than their social assistance counterparts except in those instances in which the working poor were prevented from filling needed prescriptions because they lacked the economic resources to do so. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for social assistance and health care policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Deanna L. Williamson & Janet E. Fast, 1998. "Poverty Status, Health Behaviours, and Health: Implications for Social Assistance and Health Care Policy," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-25, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:1:p:1-25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Segovia, Jorge & Bartlett, Roy F. & Edwards, Alison C., 1989. "An empirical analysis of the dimensions of health status measures," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 761-768, January.
    2. Hay, David Ian, 1988. "Socioeconomic status and health status: A study of males in the Canada health survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 27(12), pages 1317-1325, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buckley, Neil J. & Denton, Frank T. & Leslie Robb, A. & Spencer, Byron G., 2004. "The transition from good to poor health: an econometric study of the older population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1013-1034, September.
    2. Lori Curtis & Shelley Phipps, 2001. "Social Transfers and the Health Status and Health-Care Utilization of Mothers in Norway and Canada," LIS Working papers 313, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Williamson, Deanna L. & Stewart, Miriam J. & Hayward, Karen & Letourneau, Nicole & Makwarimba, Edward & Masuda, Jeff & Raine, Kim & Reutter, Linda & Rootman, Irving & Wilson, Douglas, 2006. "Low-income Canadians' experiences with health-related services: Implications for health care reform," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 106-121, March.

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