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Persistence and variability in income: Exploring their role in self-rated health in Swedish survey data
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The adverse relationship between income and health is well documented, but less is known of how income trajectories, i.e. downward or upward trends in income, determine health. We therefore link longitudinal income information to cross-sectional data on self-rated health and conduct logistic regression models in order to investigate income trends over time and their relationship with health.

The data, with the exception of income information, are derived from the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey 2000. The information on income was drawn from the income register covering the period 1995 to 2000. We used an age-restricted sample of those 30-64 years of age, and generated a series of models accounting for average income position, lagged income position, income decrease and increase, and annual periods in specific income positions. The analysis was conducted for men and women separately.

Apart from the overall association between income and health, we found a similar pattern when including average and lagged income in the model. The analysis of length of time in a specific income position showed substantial sex differences in poor health. Income decrease was more strongly associated with men’s poor health, whereas income increase revealed only weak associations with self-rated health.

It was shown that income changes and the time dimension of income are important for self-rated health. Self-rated health responds to decreases in absolute and relative income to a greater extent than to income gains over time. Lagged lower income position and its associations with health suggest that socio-economic disadvantages accumulate over time.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102667OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102667DiVA: diva2:712344
Available from: 2014-04-14 Created: 2014-04-14 Last updated: 2014-04-16
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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