Health inequalities and the interplay of socioeconomic factors and health in the life course
Title: Health inequalities and the interplay of socioeconomic factors and health in the life course
Citation: Maurizio MELONI, John CROMBY, Des FITZGERALD and Stephanie LLOYD (eds), The Palgrave handbook of biology and society, London : Palgrave MacMillan, 2018, pp. 611-637
ISBN: 9781137528797; 9781137528780
We present health as an intersection between biology and society, and between medical/biological sciences and sociology. Health inequalities according to socioeconomic status (SES), race and gender are introduced as examples, before the causal direction between SES and health is discussed in more detail from a life course perspective. Our empirical analysis determines the explanatory power of social causation and health selection, using retrospective survey data from 10 European countries (SHARELIFE), and structural equations models in a cross-lagged panel design. Between childhood and adulthood, both mechanisms seem to be equally important, but in older ages, social causation is much more important than health selection. The contribution of both mechanisms to health inequality illustrates the close coevolution of social and biological factors in the human life course.
First published online 31 October 2017
Grant number: FP7/313532/EU
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