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Social isolation in the classroom and adult health:  A longitudinal study of a 1953 cohort
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2011 (English)In: Advances in Life Course Research, ISSN 1569-4909, E-ISSN 1879-6974, Vol. 16, no 1, 1-12 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Empirical evidence of long-term health effects of social isolation in young people is limited. In childhood, the school class emerges as a central context, wherein social disadvantages may be detrimental for health development. The purpose of this study was to examine social isolation in the school class and its association with adult disease. Data was derived from a longitudinal study using a 1953 cohort born in Stockholm, Sweden (n = 14,294). Two types of social isolation in the classroom, friendlessness and marginalisation, were sociometrically assessed in 6th grade (1966). Information on adult health was gathered through registry-data on in-patient care (1973–2003). Analyses were based on logistic regression and Poisson regression. The results demonstrated that both types of social isolation in the school class were related to various adverse individual, school-related and family-related aspects. Moreover, while marginalisation was associated with the odds of becoming hospitalised, friendlessness was not. However, if ever being hospitalised, both types of isolates had significantly more hospital care events. These results were largely unexplained by the included individual, school-related and family-related aspects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 16, no 1, 1-12 p.
Keyword [en]
Social isolation, School class, Life course, Birth cohort, In-patient care, Health
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47082DOI: 10.1016/j.alcr.2010.11.001ISI: 000289128800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-47082DiVA: diva2:372967
Available from: 2010-11-29 Created: 2010-11-29 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A class of origin: The school class as a social context and health disparities in a life-course perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A class of origin: The school class as a social context and health disparities in a life-course perspective
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present thesis is to examine various aspects of the school-class structure and their links to health in a life-course perspective. The empirical studies are based on two longitudinal data materials of cohorts born in the 1950s, followed up until middle age.

In the first study, the overall status distribution in the school class was shown to be associated with both minor psychiatric disorder in childhood and self-rated health in adulthood. Thus, ill-health was more common among individuals who attended school classes less equal in terms of status.

The second study demonstrated that it was more common among those who had fewer mutual friendships in the school class to report poorer health as adults. Socioeconomic career emerged as the primary explanation for men while, for women, these findings were largely unaccounted for by any of the included child and adult circumstances.

Findings from the third study suggested the child’s status position in the school class, i.e. peer status, to be related to a wide range of health outcomes in adulthood. In particular, lower peer status was linked to an excess risk of mental and behavioural disorders, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Childhood social class did not confound these associations to any large extent.

The fourth study examined two types of social isolation in the school class: marginalisation (low peer status) and friendlessness. Hospitalisation due to any disease was more common among marginalised children compared to among non-isolates, whereas no corresponding association was found for the friendless. For both types of isolates, the number of hospitalisations was greater than among non-isolated individuals. Of the studied childhood factors, scholastic ability emerged as an important mechanism.

In sum, this thesis points to the relevance of the school class for health development across the life course and to the complexity of pathways through which influences of the school class may operate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2011. 91 p.
Series
Health Equity Studies, ISSN 1651-5390 ; 16
Keyword
Children, School class, Social structure, Social networks, Health inequalities, Longitudinal
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-55628 (URN)978-91-7447-246-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-05-20, hörsal 4, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Accepted. Available from: 2011-04-28 Created: 2011-03-23 Last updated: 2011-04-08Bibliographically approved

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