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The role of education in the uptake of preventative health care: The case of cervical screening in Britain


  • Sabates, Ricardo
  • Feinstein, Leon


This paper reports findings on the relationship between education and the take-up of screening for cervical cancer, as an example of preventative health-care activity. Theoretically, education can enhance the demand for preventative health services by raising awareness of the importance of undertaking regular health check-ups and may also improve the ways in which individuals understand information regarding periodical tests, communicate with the health practitioner, and interpret results. Furthermore, education enhances the inclusion of individuals in society, improving self-efficacy and confidence. All these factors may increase service uptake. The empirical analysis uses data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and applies techniques for discrete panel data to estimate the parameters of the model. Results show that adult learning leading to qualifications is statistically associated with an increase in the uptake of screening. The marginal effect indicates that participation in courses leading to qualifications increases the probability of having a smear test between 4.3 and 4.4 percentage points. This estimate is strongly robust to time-invariant selectivity bias in education and the inclusion of income, class, occupation, and parental socio-economic status. These findings enrich existing evidence on the socio-economic determinants of screening for cervical cancer and enable policy makers to better understand barriers to service uptake.

Suggested Citation

  • Sabates, Ricardo & Feinstein, Leon, 2006. "The role of education in the uptake of preventative health care: The case of cervical screening in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(12), pages 2998-3010, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:62:y:2006:i:12:p:2998-3010

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Doyle, Yvonne, 1991. "A survey of the cervical screening service in a London district, including reasons for non-attendance, ethnic responses and views on the quality of the service," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 953-957, January.
    8. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Cookson & Carol Proppper & Miqdad Asaria & Rosalind Raine, 2016. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health care in England," Working Papers 129cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    2. Alexander Labeit & Frank Peinemann, 2015. "Breast and cervical cancer screening in Great Britain: Dynamic interrelated processes," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-17, December.
    3. repec:spr:ijphth:v:63:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00038-017-1045-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Merkin, Sharon Stein & Diez Roux, Ana V. & Coresh, Josef & Fried, Linda F. & Jackson, Sharon A. & Powe, Neil R., 2007. "Individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status and progressive chronic kidney disease in an elderly population: The Cardiovascular Health Study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 809-821, August.
    5. repec:spr:eujhec:v:19:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10198-017-0888-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Franz Hackl & Martin Halla & Michael Hummer & Gerald J. Pruckner, 2015. "The Effectiveness of Health Screening," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(8), pages 913-935, August.
    7. Ozdamar, Oznur & Giovanis, Eleftherios, 2017. "The causal effects of survivors’ benefits on health status and poverty of widows in Turkey: Evidence from Bayesian Networks," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 46-61.
    8. Vogt, Verena & Siegel, Martin & Sundmacher, Leonie, 2014. "Examining regional variation in the use of cancer screening in Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 74-80.

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