Health inequalities in the older population: the role of personal capital, social resources and socio-economic circumstances
Older people now constitute the majority of those with health problems in developed countries so an understanding of health variations in later life is increasingly important. In this paper, we use data from three rounds of the Health Survey for England, a large nationally representative sample, to analyse variations in the health of adults aged 65-84 by indicators of attributes acquired in childhood and young adulthood, termed personal capital; and by current social resources and current socio-economic circumstances, while controlling for smoking behaviour and age. We used six indicators of health status in the analysis, four based on self-reports and two based on nurse collected data, which we hypothesised would identify different dimensions of health. Results showed that socio-economic indicators, particularly receipt of income support (a marker of poverty) were most consistently associated with raised odds of poor health outcomes. Associations between marital status and health were in some cases not in the expected direction. This may reflect bias arising from exclusion of the institutional population (although among those under 85 the proportion in institutions is very low) but merits further investigation, especially as the marital status composition of the older population is changing. Analysis of deviance showed that social resources (marital status and social support) had the greatest effect on the indicator of psychological health (GHQ) and also contributed significantly to variation in self-rated health, but among women not to variation in taking three or more medicines and among men not to self-reported long-standing illnesses. Smoking, in contrast, was much more strongly associated with these indicators than with self-rated health. These results are consistent with the view that self-rated health may provide a holistic indicator of health in the sense of well-being, whereas measures such as taking prescribed medications may be more indicative of specific morbidities. The results emphasise again the need to consider both socio-economic and socio-psychological influences on later life health.
If 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.
Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (March)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:5:p:935-947. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
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.