Changing health inequalities in east and west Germany since unification
The unification of Germany in 1990 brought about substantial social and economic changes in its eastern part, with new uncertainties and, despite increasing overall income, rising inequality. This paper explores the potential impact on health of these changes during the 1990s, looking specifically at income-related health inequalities in east and west Germany and its modulation by psychosocial factors. We used data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) for the years 1992 and 1997, including individuals aged 25+. We investigated changes in self-perceived health in the two parts of Germany and its socio-economic and psychosocial determinants. Analyses estimated odds ratios of less than good health using logistic regression. In 1992, 47% of east Germans rated their health worse than good compared with 54% in the west. By 1997, the east-west gap in self-rated health had disappeared, with the prevalence of poor health increasing to 56% in both parts. Income and education were important determinants of health in east and west, with, in the age-sex-adjusted model, those having available less than 60% of median equivalent income being at increased risk of poor health in 1992 (OReast 2.39, 1.45-3.94; ORwest 2.04, 1.65-2.52). Addition of education reduced the strength of this relationship only slightly. In the west, income-related health inequalities widened between 1992 and 1997 yet the initially stronger gradient declined in the east, despite an overall increase in income inequality (OReast 1.63, 1.04-2.56; ORwest 2.65, 2.19-3.21). The impact of education remained stable. Psychosocial variables were important determinants, mediating the effects of income, with leisure-cultural social involvement exerting the strongest effect in both east and west. The results show that, unlike in the west, the overall increase in income inequality in east Germany between 1992 and 1997 was not accompanied by a simultaneous increase in income-related health inequalities. This suggests that mechanisms involved in the association of socio-economic factors and health possibly behave differently in east and west.
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): 58 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
|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:58:y:2004:i:1:p:119-136. 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: (Dana Niculescu)
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.