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Determinants of health inequalities by income from the 1980s to the 1990s in Finland
  1. O Rahkonen1,
  2. E Lahelma2,
  3. P Martikainen3,
  4. K Silventoinen2
  1. 1Department of Social Policy, University of Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki
  3. 3Centre for Health and Society, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr O Rahkonen, Department of Social Policy, POBox 18, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland;

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Recent studies have reported an inverse relation between income and health.1,2 However, it is unclear whether this is mainly attributable to poverty and material hardship. The interpretation of this relation is made difficult by lack of knowledge on what determines income and what are the health benefits of high income. Furthermore, little is known about the changes of the relation between income and health over time and whether economic shocks have an impact on the relation.

To clarify these issues this study investigated (1) whether employment status, educational attainment, and occupational class—that is factors that are likely to causally precede income—had a similar impact on the relation between income and health in Finland; and (2) whether the relation between income and health remained similar, attenuated or strengthened from 1986 to 1994. This is particularly interesting to examine in Finland because during the mid-1980s, the Finnish economy flourished and …

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  • Funding: Academy of Finland (no 48553, no 48600, no 70587) and the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation.

  • Conflicts of interests: none.

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