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Patterns of Socioeconomic Inequality in Adolescent Health Differ According to the Measure of Socioeconomic Position

Author

Listed:
  • Frank J. Elgar

    (McGill University)

  • Britt McKinnon

    (McGill University)

  • Torbjørn Torsheim

    (University of Bergen)

  • Christina Warrer Schnohr

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Joanna Mazur

    (Institute of Mother and Child)

  • Franco Cavallo

    (University of Torino)

  • Candace Currie

    (University of St. Andrews)

Abstract

Socioeconomic differences in health are ubiquitous across age groups, cultures, and health domains. However, variation in the size and pattern of health inequalities appears to relate to the measure of socioeconomic position (SEP) applied. Little attention has been paid to these differences in adolescents and their implications for health surveillance and policy. We examined health inequalities in 1371 adolescents in seven European countries using four measures of SEP: youth-reported material assets and subjective social status and parent-reported material assets and household income. For each SEP variable, we estimated risk ratios, risk differences, concentration curves, and concentration indices of inequality for fair/poor self-rated health and low life satisfaction. Results showed that inequalities in health and life satisfaction were largest when subjective social status was used as the SEP variable. Moreover, health inequalities defined by subjective social status did not change after differences in assets and income were statistically controlled. Although material assets yielded similar health inequalities as household income, the results suggest that subjective and objective SEP relate differently to adolescent health and are not equivalent indicators of the same construct. In addition, possible bidirectional effects on health and wellbeing may inflate health inequalities defined by subjective social status. These results indicate that SEP differences in adolescent health are relate more closely to psychosocial processes than to material inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:127:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-015-0994-6
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-0994-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Stefan Kühner & Maggie Lau & Evelyn Aboagye Addae, 2021. "The Mediating Role of Social Capital in the Relationship Between Hong Kong Children’s Socioeconomic Status and Subjective Well-Being," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 14(5), pages 1881-1909, October.
    3. Bíró, Éva & Dezső, Dóra & Sándor, János & Ádány, Róza, 2018. "Inequalities in Hungarian adolescents' health, health behaviour and well-being, based upon the results of a cross-sectional survey at settlement level, using the Health Behaviour in School-aged Childr," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 15-20.
    4. Rasmus Hoffmann & Hannes Kröger & Siegfried Geyer, 2019. "Social Causation Versus Health Selection in the Life Course: Does Their Relative Importance Differ by Dimension of SES?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 141(3), pages 1341-1367, February.
    5. Tommy Haugan & Sally Muggleton & Arnhild Myhr, 2021. "Psychological distress in late adolescence: The role of inequalities in family affluence and municipal socioeconomic characteristics in Norway," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(7), pages 1-25, July.
    6. 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.
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    8. Rong Zou & Gengfeng Niu & Wu Chen & Cuiying Fan & Yuan Tian & Xiaojun Sun & Zongkui Zhou, 2018. "Socioeconomic Inequality and Life Satisfaction in Late Childhood and Adolescence: A Moderated Mediation Model," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 305-318, February.
    9. Hoffmann, Rasmus & Kröger, Hannes & Geyer, Siegfried, 2019. "Social Causation Versus Health Selection in the Life Course: Does Their Relative Importance Differ by Dimension of SES?," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1341-1367.
    10. 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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