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J Epidemiol Community Health 58:597-598 doi:10.1136/jech.2003.012229
  • Research report

Relative impact of childhood and adulthood socioeconomic conditions on cause specific mortality in men

  1. Øyvind Næss1,
  2. Bjøgulf Claussen1,
  3. George Davey Smith2
  1. 1Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Ø Næss
 Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, PO Box 1130 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway; oyvind.nasssamfunnsmed.uio.no
  • Accepted 25 November 2003

Increasing evidence suggests that social inequality in mortality risk in developed countries is mediated by social and biological chains of risk accumulating over the life course.1 Both childhood and adulthood socioeconomic conditions have been found to be independently associated with mortality risk.2,3 The relative importance of childhood and adulthood social conditions is likely to vary depending on cause of death.4,5 Lack of full life course cohorts with large enough study power prevents many researchers from studying this issue across causes of death.

METHODS AND RESULTS

A cohort of all inhabitants in Oslo aged 30–54 years in 1990 was linked to the Census, Tax, and the Death Registers, for 58 751 people. Housing conditions from the 1960 census provided information on childhood social conditions. Six aspects of housing conditions were included in a housing index. This included information on rooms per household capita (0,1,2), type of dwelling (0,1,2), ownership (0,1), toilet (0,1), bath (0,1), and telephone in dwelling (0,1). This was summed for each individual and categorised to five approximately similar size groups. Income information for 1990, derived from taxation authorities, was used as the indicator of social conditions in adult age. Yearly wages, social security benefits, and other earnings were …