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Mine, yours or ours?: Income inequality and mental health in Northern Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
2017 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 27, no suppl_3, p. 40-41Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The relationship between income and population health has received considerable attention in the last decades. Three main explanations of the relationship have been identified: the absolute, the contextual, and the relative income effects hypotheses. The evidence about their relevance, particularly in egalitarian societies like the Scandinavian one, is however inconsistent. The present study aimed to test the three hypotheses in relation to psychological distress in northern Sweden.

Methods: Data come from the 2014 cross sectional survey “Health on equal terms”, from the four northern-most counties in Sweden, and included people 25-84 years (n = 21,004). Psychological distress was measured by the General Health Questionnaire-12 and information on disposable income came from population registers. Absolute income was operationalized by individual disposable income, contextual income as the municipal-level Gini coefficient and relative income by the Yitzaki index. The research questions were tested by log-binomial regression analysis.

Results: First, a strong individual income gradient in mental ill health was observed, with the very poor more likely to report poor health (PR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.19, 2.04) compared to the highest income quintile. Second, municipalities in the quintiles 2-4 of the Gini coefficient had a better mental health than those municipalities in the extremes of the distribution. Third, a clear statistically significant gradient in the association of relative deprivation and ill mental health was also found (PR = 1.37 95% CI = 1.06, 1.76).

Conclusions: This study suggests a strong, moderate and lack of support for the absolute, relative and contextual income effect hypotheses, respectively. Interventions targeting a reduction in the individual income gap are probably necessary in order to reduce psychosocial distress differences in this population of northern Sweden.

Key messages:

  • A strong, moderate and lack of support for the absolute, relative and contextual income effect hypotheses, respectively was found in northern Sweden.
  • A reduction in the individual income gap is probably necessary in order to decrease the psychosocial distress differences observed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2017. Vol. 27, no suppl_3, p. 40-41
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-143149DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx187.102ISI: 000414389800082OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-143149DiVA, id: diva2:1168405
Conference
10th European Public Health Conference Sustaining resilient and healthy communities Stockholm, Sweden 1–4 November 2017
Available from: 2017-12-20 Created: 2017-12-20 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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San Sebastian, MiguelMosquera, PaolaGustafsson, Per E.

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