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Social patterning of ill health in Helsinki and Moscow: Results from a comparative survey in 1991


  • Palosuo, Hannele
  • Uutela, Antti
  • Zhuravleva, Irina
  • Lakomova, Nina


Social inequalities in health are widely documented in the western countries including Finland, but research on Russia has so far been scarce. This article compares self-reported ill health of men and women and its social patterning in Helsinki and Moscow on the basis of a survey. The data (Helsinki N=824, Moscow N=545) were collected by mailed questionnaires in 1991. The Muscovites fared more poorly on perceived and psychological health, but the differences in self-reported morbidity (prevalence of chronic illnesses) between the cities were quite small. The sex differentials were greater in Moscow and Muscovite women had the poorest health of all. Education, family income and occupation had the most consistent associations with perceived health and morbidity among Helsinki women and the weakest among Muscovite women. With few exceptions, men of both cities fell between these groups. The differences in health between the cities were smaller in groups with low education. Thus, the role of education as a protective resource was more pronounced in Helsinki, and more notably among women. The possibility of a different impact of social stratification on health in a transitional socialist society compared to a western market economy is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Palosuo, Hannele & Uutela, Antti & Zhuravleva, Irina & Lakomova, Nina, 1998. "Social patterning of ill health in Helsinki and Moscow: Results from a comparative survey in 1991," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1121-1136, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:9:p:1121-1136

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    Cited by:

    1. Glei, Dana A. & Goldman, Noreen & Shkolnikov, Vladimir M. & Jdanov, Dmitri & Shalnova, Svetlana & Shkolnikova, Maria & Weinstein, Maxine, 2013. "To what extent do biomarkers account for the large social disparities in health in Moscow?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 164-172.
    2. Laura Paalanen & Ritva Prättälä & Hannele Palosuo & Satu Helakorpi & Tiina Laatikainen, 2010. "Socio-economic differences in the use of dairy fat in Russian and Finnish Karelia, 1994–2004," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(4), pages 325-337, August.
    3. Jylhä, Marja, 2009. "What is self-rated health and why does it predict mortality? Towards a unified conceptual model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 307-316, August.
    4. Hinote, Brian Philip & Cockerham, William C. & Abbott, Pamela, 2009. "The specter of post-communism: Women and alcohol in eight post-Soviet states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1254-1262, April.
    5. Cockerham, William C. & Hinote, Brian P. & Abbott, Pamela, 2006. "Psychological distress, gender, and health lifestyles in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(9), pages 2381-2394, November.


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