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Do socioeconomic gradients in women's health widen over time and with age?

Mishra, Gita D., Ball, Kylie, Dobson, Annette J. and Byles, Julie E. 2004, Do socioeconomic gradients in women's health widen over time and with age?, Social science & medicine, vol. 58, no. 9, pp. 1585-1595.

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Title Do socioeconomic gradients in women's health widen over time and with age?
Author(s) Mishra, Gita D.
Ball, Kylie
Dobson, Annette J.
Byles, Julie E.
Journal name Social science & medicine
Volume number 58
Issue number 9
Start page 1585
End page 1595
Publisher Elsevier BV
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2004-05
ISSN 0277-9536
1873-5347
Keyword(s) socioeconomic differentials
well-being
SF-36
mortality
Australia
Summary A population-based study was conducted to investigate changes over time in women's well-being and health service use by socio-economic status and whether these varied by age. Data from 12,328 mid-age women (aged 45–50 years in 1996) and 10,430 older women (aged 70–75 years) from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health were analysed. The main outcome measures were changes in the eight dimensions of the Short Form General Health Survey (SF-36) adjusted for baseline scores, lifestyle and behavioural factors; health care utilisation at Survey 2; and rate of deaths (older cohort only). Cross-sectional analyses showed clear socioeconomic differentials in well-being for both cohorts. Differential changes in health across tertiles of socioeconomic status (SES) were more evident in the mid-age cohort than in the older cohort. For the mid-aged women in the low SES tertile, declines in physical functioning (adjusted mean change of –2.4, standard error (SE) 1.1) and general health perceptions (−1.5, SE 1.1) were larger than the high SES group (physical functioning –0.8 SE 1.1, general health perceptions –0.8 SE 1.2). In the older cohort, changes in SF-36 scores over time were similar for all SES groups but women in the high SES group had lower death rates than women in the low SES group (relative risk: 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.64–0.98). Findings suggest that SES differentials in physical health seem to widen during women's mid-adult years but narrow in older age. Nevertheless, SES remains an important predictor of health, health service use and mortality in older Australian women.


Language eng
Field of Research 111706 Epidemiology
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2003, Elsevier
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008696

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.