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Socioeconomic status and health status: A study of males in the Canada health survey

Listed author(s):
  • Hay, David Ian
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    The relationships between education/occupation/income and health status have been well documented in the international epidemiological and sociological literature for many years, however, specific studies on the subject are scarce in Canada. Even when relationships have been demonstrated, the reasons for these relationships are much debated. This study presents an analysis of the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health status. The study is based on analysis of data from a sample of nearly 2000 male principal income earners from the 1978 Canada Health Survey. Firstly, is there a relationship between an individual's SES and health status in Canada? Secondly, what aspects of SES--education, occupational status, and/or income--are most important? Thirdly, what are the possible explanations of the observed relationship? That is, is it possible to disaggregate the relationship and thereby infer possible causal mechanisms? The findings indicated a direct positive relationship between SES and health status, i.e. the higher an individual's SES, the better that person's health. The major exception to this was the SES/fitness relationship. In this instance, the higher the SES, the lower the level of fitness. Though age was an important control variable as SES, fitness and illness are age related, the findings relating SES to the health measures remained even when age was controlled for. Of the three SES measures, income was consistently the best correlate of health status. Occupational status showed the most inconsistent relationships with health status. The findings supported both the social causation and social selection hypotheses. That is, social position can have an effect on health status (social causation), while health status can affect one's social position (social selection).

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

    Volume (Year): 27 (1988)
    Issue (Month): 12 (January)
    Pages: 1317-1325

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:27:y:1988:i:12:p:1317-1325
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