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Socioeconomic position and hysterectomy: a cross-cohort comparison of women in Australia and Great Britain
  1. R Cooper1,
  2. J Lucke2,
  3. D A Lawlor3,
  4. G Mishra1,
  5. J-H Chang2,
  6. S Ebrahim4,
  7. D Kuh1,
  8. A Dobson2
  1. 1
    MRC National Survey of Health and Development, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2
    School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia
  3. 3
    Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, UK
  4. 4
    Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Dr R Cooper, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, 33 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JU; r.cooper{at}


Objectives: To examine the associations between indicators of socioeconomic position (SEP) and hysterectomy in two Australian and two British cohorts.

Study population: Women participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), born 1921–1926 and 1946–1951, and two cohorts of British women, the British Women’s Heart and Health Study and the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, born at similar times (1920 to 1939 and 1946, respectively) and surveyed at similar ages to the ALSWH cohorts.

Methods: Relative indices of inequality were derived for own and head of household occupational class, educational level attained and age at leaving school. Logistic regression was used to test the associations between these indicators of SEP and self-reported hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy.

Results: Inverse associations between indicators of SEP and hysterectomy were found in both the Australian and British cohorts of women born in 1946 or later. There was also evidence of an inverse association between education and hysterectomy in the older Australian cohort. However, the associations in this older cohort were weaker than those found in the mid-aged Australian cohort. In the older British cohort, born in the 1920s and 1930s, little evidence of association between SEP in adulthood and hysterectomy was found.

Conclusions: These results suggest that inverse associations between indicators of SEP and hysterectomy are stronger in younger than in older cohorts in both Australia and Great Britain. They provide further evidence of the dynamic nature of the association between indicators of SEP and hysterectomy.

Statistics from


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, which was conceived and developed by groups of interdisciplinary researchers at the Universities of Newcastle and Queensland, is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The National Survey of Health and Development is funded by the Medical Research Council. The British Women’s Heart and Health Study is funded by the UK Department of Health Policy Research Programme and the British Heart Foundation. RC, DK and GM are funded by the Medical Research Council. DAL is funded by a UK Department of Health Career Scientist Award. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of any of the funding bodies. The funding bodies have had no influence over the data analysis, its interpretation or its publication.

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