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Absolute and relative family affluence and psychosomatic symptoms in adolescents

Author

Listed:
  • Elgar, Frank J.
  • De Clercq, Bart
  • Schnohr, Christina W.
  • Bird, Phillippa
  • Pickett, Kate E.
  • Torsheim, Torbjørn
  • Hofmann, Felix
  • Currie, Candace

Abstract

Previous research on the links between income inequality and health and socioeconomic differences in health suggests that relative differences in affluence impact health and well-being more than absolute affluence. This study explored whether self-reported psychosomatic symptoms in adolescents relate more closely to relative affluence (i.e., relative deprivation or rank affluence within regions or schools) than to absolute affluence. Data on family material assets and psychosomatic symptoms were collected from 48,523 adolescents in eight countries (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Scotland, Poland, Turkey, and Ukraine) as part of the 2009/10 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. Multilevel regression analyses of the data showed that relative deprivation (Yitzhaki Index, calculated in regions and in schools) and rank affluence (in regions) (1) related more closely to symptoms than absolute affluence, and (2) related to symptoms after differences in absolute affluence were held constant. However, differences in family material assets, whether they are measured in absolute or relative terms, account for a significant variation in adolescent psychosomatic symptoms. Conceptual and empirical issues relating to the use of material affluence indices to estimate socioeconomic position are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:91:y:2013:i:c:p:25-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.04.030
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    1. Hilda Osafo Hounkpatin & Alex Wood & Gordon Brown & Graham Dunn, 2015. "Why does Income Relate to Depressive Symptoms? Testing the Income Rank Hypothesis Longitudinally," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 637-655, November.
    2. Jane E. K. Hartley & Kate Levin & Candace Currie, 2016. "A new version of the HBSC Family Affluence Scale - FAS III: Scottish Qualitative Findings from the International FAS Development Study," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 9(1), pages 233-245, March.
    3. Myra Hamilton & Gerry Redmond, 2020. "Are Young Carers Less Engaged in School than Non-Carers? Evidence from a Representative Australian Study," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 13(1), pages 33-49, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Elgar, Frank J. & Pickett, William & Pförtner, Timo-Kolja & Gariépy, Geneviève & Gordon, David & Georgiades, Kathy & Davison, Colleen & Hammami, Nour & MacNeil, Allison H. & Azevedo Da Silva, Marine &, 2021. "Relative food insecurity, mental health and wellbeing in 160 countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 268(C).
    6. Sun, Yu & You, Wen, 2016. "Relative-deprivation effects on child health in China," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235926, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Concepción Moreno-Maldonado & Francisco Rivera & Pilar Ramos & Carmen Moreno, 2018. "Measuring the Socioeconomic Position of Adolescents: A Proposal for a Composite Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 517-538, April.
    8. Levine, Cynthia S. & Miller, Gregory E. & Shalowitz, Madeleine U. & Story, Rachel E. & Manczak, Erika M. & Hayen, Robin & Hoffer, Lauren C. & Le, Van & Vause, Katherine J. & Chen, Edith, 2019. "Academic disparities and health: How gender-based disparities in schools relate to boys' and girls’ health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 228(C), pages 126-134.
    9. Gerry Redmond & Jasmine Huynh & Vanessa Maurici, 2018. "How Big is the Gap in Wellbeing between Marginalised and Non-Marginalised Young People as They Approach Adolescence? Evidence from a National Survey of 9–14 Year Old Australians," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 11(2), pages 459-485, April.
    10. Frank J. Elgar & Britt McKinnon & Torbjørn Torsheim & Christina Warrer Schnohr & Joanna Mazur & Franco Cavallo & Candace Currie, 2016. "Patterns of Socioeconomic Inequality in Adolescent Health Differ According to the Measure of Socioeconomic Position," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 1169-1180, July.
    11. 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.

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