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Measures of social class based on education for use in health studies in developing countries.
  1. H Zurayk,
  2. S Halabi,
  3. M Deeb
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.


    In this paper we consider the appropriateness of education, compared to occupation and income, as a measure of social class for use in health-related studies in developing societies in transition. Three evaluation criteria were used, namely, the feasibility of constructing the measure, its sensitivity in reflecting relevant social class life conditions, and its ability to produce a family-level measure of social class. We used two data sets from community health surveys in areas of Amman city, Jordan, and in Beirut city, Lebanon, to define a family-based average educational score. We then proceeded, using the Beirut data, to test the score's ability to discriminate social class effects on family health, compared to a more standard representation based on the educational level of the head of the family. It was found that the performance of the average educational score was often better than, but not consistently superior to, the educational level of the head of the family.

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