Background Scotland has higher rates of mortality and morbidity compared to other UK countries. These differences are partially explained by socio-economic factors. It is acknowledged that adult health is strongly influenced during childhood and adolescence, however, because adolescence is considered to be the healthiest period in one’s life, research into health inequalities has largely focused on younger children and the adult population. This study investigates the social patterning of self-reported health among 10–24-year-olds across the four UK nations.
Methods We used 2001 and 2011 census microdata from the four UK’s constituent countries to examine social patterning of self-reported health by UK country, gender, social position (operationalised by the NS-SEC of the family reference person), and household deprivation indicators of education and housing. Health was measured by using the general health question ’over the last twelve months would you say your health has on the whole been: good, fairly good, not good’? Preliminary results from logistic regression analysis are presented here. The final results will be reported in the form of marginal effects.
Results Analysis of the 2001 data so far shows significant differences in self-reported health by the country, gender, NS-SEC, and household education. After controlling for the effect of social position, gender, education and housing, young people from Scotland and Northern Ireland have respectively 22% (95% CIs 0.72–0.85) (p<0.001) and 17% (95% CIs 0.73–0.96) (p=0.008) higher odds of reporting poor health compared to England. The social patterning of self-reported health is visible; respondents from semi-routine and routine occupations have 23% higher odds (95% CIs 0.65–0.92) (p=0.003) of reporting poor health compared to the NS-SEC Class 1. Odds are also higher among respondents from ‘residual’ NS-SEC classes of ‘never worked’ (63%, 95% CIs 0.31–0.45) and ‘long-term unemployed’ (46%, 95% CIs 0.43–0.70) (p<0.001). Young people from households with low educational attainment have 44% higher odds of reporting poor health (95% CIs 0.52–0.59, p<0.001). Association between housing deprivation and health is not statistically significant. Analysis of the 2011 data is ongoing and full results will be available by the time of the conference.
Conclusion The results of the preliminary analysis confirm that the family’s socio-economic status influences young people’s self-reported health, the significant country effect will be further investigated. This study will also make a methodological contribution by comparing the results as reported in the form of odds ratios and marginal effects.
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