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Childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position across 20 causes of death: a prospective cohort study of 800 000 Norwegian men and women
  1. Øyvind Næss1,2,
  2. Bjørn H Strand2,
  3. George Davey Smith3
  1. 1
    Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
  2. 2
    Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3
    Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Øyvind Næss, Institute of General Practice and Community Health, Fredrik Holsts hus, 1130 Blindern, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; oyvind.nass{at}samfunnsmed.uio.no

Abstract

Objective: To assess the impact of childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP) across 20 causes of death in a large population-wide sample of Norwegian men and women.

Methods: Census data on parental occupational class from 1960 and data from the tax register on household income in 1990 were linked to the death register for 1990–2001, and 20 causes of death were studied. Relative indices of inequalities were computed. Norwegians in the age group 0–20 years in 1960 and still alive in 1990 were followed for deaths in 1990 to 2001. This follow up involved 795 324 individuals (78%) and 20 887 deaths.

Main results: In men most support for an effect of childhood socioeconomic position was found for stomach cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, “other violent death”, and all causes of death. In women similar effects were found for lung cancer, cervical cancer, coronary heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and all causes of death.

Conclusions: The effect of childhood socioeconomic position relative to adulthood varies by cause of death. Although there are some exceptions, the patterns in men and women are generally similar.

  • life course epidemiology
  • social inequality
  • cause-specific mortality

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Footnotes

  • Abbreviations:
    RII
    relative index of inequality
    SEP
    socioeconomic position

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