Article Text


Epidemiology and policy
P1-216 Surviving experience or limited future? A comparative analysis of economic hardship and depression across the adult life span in different welfare state regimes in Europe
  1. K Levecque1,2,
  2. R Van Rossem2
  1. 1Research Council Flanders, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2Ghent University, Department of Sociology, Ghent, Belgium


In a study of depression in the general population living in the USA, Mirowsky and Ross (2001) found that economic hardship related depression decreases with age, suggesting increasing surviving experience as one gets older. We test whether this pattern can be generalised to other developed nations. Based on data for 23 countries taking part in the European Social Survey (2006–2007), multilevel analyses shows that the moderating role of age is in itself dependent on the socio-political context. The link between economic hardship and depression is not significantly different across the life course in the Nordic and Bismarckian regimes, it increases in the Southern and Eastern European countries and decreases in strength in the Anglo-Saxon welfare states. Our findings suggest that welfare state regimes play a significant role in attenuating, boosting or even reversing the health effects of social experiences such as economic hardship and ageing. Health knowledge gained through research that ignores the socio-political context might be limited in terms of generalisation.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.