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Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature

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  • Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui
  • Kawachi, Ichiro

Abstract

We reviewed the empirical studies published between 2000 and 2010 that test the relative deprivation (RD) hypothesis in relation to population health. Our review focuses primarily on 14 studies using the Yitzhaki Index and related relative income measures. We summarize their main findings by health outcome, address methodological challenges in measuring RD, and identify several gaps in the literature as well as future directions for research in this area. Gaps in the evidence include the need for longitudinal studies with stronger causal designs – for example, examining changes in RD in relation to changes in health outcomes, with careful control for confounding by individual income and other indicators of socioeconomic position. Defining the appropriate reference group (from which people make social comparisons) poses a major empirical challenge, as evidenced by the fact that the measurement of RD has not materially advanced since Yitzhaki's original formulation in 1979. More innovative approaches to operationalizing RD are needed – including the measurement of RD in dimensions other than income, incorporating inter-generational comparisons; and attempting exogenous manipulation of RD, e.g. through laboratory-based experiments.

Suggested Citation

  • Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Kafui & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2012. "Use of the Yitzhaki Index as a test of relative deprivation for health outcomes: A review of recent literature," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 129-137.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:1:p:129-137
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Ozan Eksi & Asena Caner & Unay Tamgac Tezcan, 2018. "Relative Deprivation and Life Satisfaction among Europeans: Keeping up with Others," Bogazici Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Bogazici University, Department of Economics, vol. 32(2), pages 19-46.
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    5. Gero, Krisztina & Kondo, Katsunori & Kondo, Naoki & Shirai, Kokoro & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2017. "Associations of relative deprivation and income rank with depressive symptoms among older adults in Japan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 138-144.
    6. Pak, Tae-Young & Choung, Youngjoo, 2020. "Relative deprivation and suicide risk in South Korea," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 247(C).
    7. Punarjit Roychowdhury, 2018. "Visible consumption, relative deprivation, and health: evidence from a developing country," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 38(3), pages 1366-1380.
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    10. Song, Lijun, 2015. "Does who you know in the positional hierarchy protect or hurt? Social capital, comparative reference group, and depression in two societies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 136, pages 117-127.
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    13. François Dengah, H.J., 2014. "How religious status shapes psychological well-being: Cultural consonance as a measure of subcultural status among Brazilian Pentecostals," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 18-25.
    14. Elgar, Frank J. & De Clercq, Bart & Schnohr, Christina W. & Bird, Phillippa & Pickett, Kate E. & Torsheim, Torbjørn & Hofmann, Felix & Currie, Candace, 2013. "Absolute and relative family affluence and psychosomatic symptoms in adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 25-31.
    15. Aittomäki, Akseli & Martikainen, Pekka & Rahkonen, Ossi & Lahelma, Eero, 2014. "Household income and health problems during a period of labour-market change and widening income inequalities – A study among the Finnish population between 1987 and 2007," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 84-92.
    16. Sakketa Tekalign Gutu & Gerber Nicolas, 2018. "Working Paper 296 - Relative Deprivation and Well-Being of the Rural Youth," Working Paper Series 2423, African Development Bank.
    17. Jin, Lei & Tam, Tony, 2015. "Investigating the effects of temporal and interpersonal relative deprivation on health in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 26-35.
    18. Esposito, Lucio & Villaseñor, Adrián & Rodríguez, Enrique Cuevas & Millett, Christopher, 2020. "The economic gradient of obesity in Mexico: Independent predictive roles of absolute and relative wealth by gender," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 250(C).
    19. Mishra, Sandeep & Carleton, R. Nicholas, 2015. "Subjective relative deprivation is associated with poorer physical and mental health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 144-149.
    20. Esposito, Lucio & Villaseñor, Adrián, 2017. "Relative deprivation: Measurement issues and predictive role for body image dissatisfaction," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 192(C), pages 49-57.
    21. Kuo, Chun-Tung & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2013. "The association between relative deprivation and self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and smoking behavior in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 39-44.
    22. Elgar, Frank J. & Xie, Annie & Pförtner, Timo-Kolja & White, James & Pickett, Kate E., 2016. "Relative deprivation and risk factors for obesity in Canadian adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 111-118.
    23. Hounkpatin, Hilda Osafo & Wood, Alex M. & Dunn, Graham, 2016. "Does income relate to health due to psychosocial or material factors? Consistent support for the psychosocial hypothesis requires operationalization with income rank not the Yitzhaki Index," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 76-84.

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