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Income and health in different welfare contexts: A comparison of Sweden, East and West Germany
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
2013 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 41, no 3, 260-268 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The aim of the present study is to explore whether the association between income and self-rated health in Sweden is similar to that in Germany. Both countries represent relatively similar economic contexts, but also different welfare traditions and historic experiences. Thus, the study compares Sweden with East Germany and West Germany in order to incorporate the aftereffects of reunification in East Germany. Methods: The association between adjusted disposable household income and self-rated health is investigated by exploring cross-sectional survey data for the year 2000. In a sequence of logistic regression models, the risk for poor self-rated health across income quintiles is analysed, controlling for educational status and occupational position. Data sources are the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey and the German Socio-Economic Panel. Results: A relationship between income and health was observed for Sweden, East Germany and West Germany, before as well as after controlling for education and occupational position. The associations were somewhat stronger for women than for men. Similar magnitudes of income-related poor health were detected across the investigated subsamples, but patterns were distinct in the three regions. The highest estimates were not always found in groups with the lowest income position. Conclusions: Given the variation in the results, we found neither advantages nor disadvantages that can be linked to the effectiveness of the welfare contexts under study. We could also not identify an income threshold for poor health across the investigated countries and settings. Nevertheless, the association between income and health persists, although the patterns vary across regional contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 41, no 3, 260-268 p.
Keyword [en]
East Germany and West Germany, relative income inequality, self-rated health, Sweden, welfare state
National Category
Sociology Health Sciences
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83201DOI: 10.1177/1403494812472264ISI: 000318632100007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83201DiVA: diva2:574387
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-05 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Others’ income, one’s own fate: How income inequality, relative social position and social comparisons contribute to disparities in health
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Others’ income, one’s own fate: How income inequality, relative social position and social comparisons contribute to disparities in health
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to contribute to a greater understanding of how social inequalities in health evolve causally and to explore the missing links between social position and health in different social and economic contexts.

A premise in the thesis is that in affluent societies, not only material aspects and purchasing power linked to income and social positions are important explanations for the health of individuals, but also the relative socio-economic standards in society. The concept of relative income position was used to explore this notion across time and country contexts: A comparison of income-related health inequalities between the different welfare contexts of Sweden and Germany showed similar magnitudes in poor health. When exploring the role of absolute and relative income changes over time in Sweden, income volatility was found to influence individuals’ health.

Another aim was to explore the specific social mechanisms reflecting intra- and interpersonal social comparisons and their role for health. Subjective measures of social position were found to capture non-material aspects of social positions. Self-rated class affinity revealed strong associations with health, particularly for women. Income satisfaction, predicting mortality, was shown to be a measure that accounts for internalized reference standards regarded as meaningful by individuals.

Conceptually, the used subjective measures capture aspects of social comparisons and relative deprivation and further suggest that not the material dimension of social position alone matters for health. It is also shown that income satisfaction operates as a mediator between income position and mortality. Subjective measures such as income satisfaction and class affinity provide a plausible link in the understanding of how social inequality entails persistent effects on health and mortality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2014. 74 p.
Series
Health Equity Studies, ISSN 1651-5390 ; 19
Keyword
Social inequality, health, income, subjective social position, income satisfaction, relative deprivation, Sweden, Germany
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102669 (URN)978-91-7447-868-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-22, Willam-Olssonsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-04-29 Created: 2014-04-14 Last updated: 2014-04-23Bibliographically approved

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