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Accumulation of disadvantage over the life course and mortality
  1. Johannes Siegrist
  1. Correspondence to Professor Johannes Siegrist, Senior Professorship on Work Stress Research, University of Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, 40225, Germany; johannes.siegrist{at}

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Social inequalities in morbidity and mortality continue to be one of the highest public health concerns in times of increasing income inequalities in economically advanced countries. Compelling scientific evidence supports the notion that adverse socioeconomic circumstances determine poor health. To a large extent, respective epidemiological research is based on established indicators of people's socioeconomic position, such as education, occupational status and income. With a few exceptions, wealth, a complementary indicator, has received less attention. The paper by Demakakos et al1 published in this issue addresses this gap of knowledge, and it offers several significant insights. First, it demonstrates that accumulated disadvantage over the life course in terms of household wealth (assets, housing) is a powerful predictor of mortality, specifically so in early old age. This finding is …

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