Aims: Leisure activity helps people engage with life, and it promotes health and well-being as we age. This study investigated whether individuals with active jobs (high psychological demands, high control) in mid-life were more active during leisure time in old age compared with those with less active jobs. Methods: Two individually linked Swedish surveys were used (N=776) with 23 years of follow-up. Data were analysed with logistic regression. Results: Having an active job in mid-life was associated with greater engagement in intellectual/cultural, social and physical activity in old age, even when leisure activity in mid-life was taken into account. Conclusions: The results suggest that active jobs in mid-life may be replaced by active leisure during retirement. Active job conditions may promote engagement in society in old age, which in turn may have positive health consequences.
In the relation between income and health it has been suggested that individual level mechanisms are related either to absolute or to relative income. Both absolute income level and the individual's own income in relation to that of others are likely to affect health, but to distinguish between these effects in analyses has been difficult. The aim of this study is to distinguish between the effect on health of one's own position in the income distribution and the effect on health of the individual's ability to consume. Combining data from Sweden, Finland and Norway provides a setting where individuals with the same absolute income level may occupy different positions within their national income distribution. The data come from Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian surveys of living conditions from the mid 1990s. Both the position in the income distribution and the ability to consume is measured by household disposable equivalent income. In order to eliminate differences in price levels, household income is adjusted for purchasing power parities. The outcome measure used is limiting long-standing illness. There was a clear income gradient in health over the individual's relative position in their national income distribution. Stratifying for groups of household income adjusted for purchasing power parities, we still find a significant effect of the individual's relative position. In Nordic welfare states the relative position in the income distribution is related to limiting long-standing illness independently of the ability to consume among individuals with high ability to consume.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the cross-cultural validity of the Demand-Control Questionnaire, comparing the original Swedish questionnaire with the Brazilian version. METHODS We compared data from 362 Swedish and 399 Brazilian health workers. Confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses were performed to test structural validity, using the robust weighted least squares mean and variance-adjusted (WLSMV) estimator. Construct validity, using hypotheses testing, was evaluated through the inspection of the mean score distribution of the scale dimensions according to sociodemographic and social support at work variables. RESULTS The confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses supported the instrument in three dimensions (for Swedish and Brazilians): psychological demands, skill discretion and decision authority. The best-fit model was achieved by including an error correlation between work fast and work intensely (psychological demands) and removing the item repetitive work (skill discretion). Hypotheses testing showed that workers with university degree had higher scores on skill discretion and decision authority and those with high levels of Social Support at Work had lower scores on psychological demands and higher scores on decision authority. CONCLUSIONS The results supported the equivalent dimensional structures across the two culturally different work contexts. Skill discretion and decision authority formed two distinct dimensions and the item repetitive work should be removed.
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This study analyses self-rated health and non-employment and potential synergy effects among lone and couple mothers aged 25-59 in Britain, Sweden and Italy, representing different family policy categories using data from national surveys (2000-2005). Synergy effects on health were calculated by synergy index. Non-employment only marginally contributed to the excess risk of poor health among lone mothers but there were synergy effects between lone motherhood and non-employment in all three countries, producing a higher risk of poor health than would be expected from a simple addition of these exposures. Results are discussed in relation to the different family policy and living contexts.
Inequalities over the life course may increase due to accumulation of disadvantage or may decrease because ageing can work as a leveller. We report how absolute and relative socioeconomic inequalities in musculoskeletal pain, oral health and psychological distress evolve with ageing.
Data were combined from two nationally representative Swedish panel studies: the Swedish Level-of-Living Survey and the Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old. Individuals were followed up to 43 years in six waves (1968, 1974, 1981, 1991/1992, 2000/2002, 2010/2011) from five cohorts: 1906-1915 (n=899), 1925-1934 (n=906), 1944-1953 (n=1154), 1957-1966 (n=923) and 1970-1981 (n=1199). The participants were 15-62 years at baseline. Three self-reported outcomes were measured as dichotomous variables: teeth not in good conditions, psychological distress and musculoskeletal pain. The fixed-income groups were: (A) never poor and (B) poor at least once in life. The relationship between ageing and the outcomes was smoothed with locally weighted ordinary least squares, and the relative and absolute gaps were calculated with Poisson regression using generalised estimating equations.
All outcomes were associated with ageing, birth cohort, sex and being poor at least once in live. Absolute inequalities increased up to the age of 45-64 years, and then they decreased. Relative inequalities were large already in individuals aged 15-25?years, showing a declining trend over the life course. Selective mortality did not change the results. The socioeconomic gap was larger for current poverty than for being poor at least once in life.
Inequalities persist into very old age, though they are more salient in midlife for all three outcomes observed.
During the last decade there has been a growing interest in the relation between income and health. The discussion has mostly focused on the individual's relative standing in the income distribution with the implicit understanding that the absolute level of income is not as relevant when the individual's basic needs are fulfilled. This study hypothesises relative deprivation to be a mechanism in the relation between income and health in Sweden: being relatively deprived in comparison to a reference group causes a stressful situation, which might affect self-rated health. Reference groups were formed by combining indicators of social class, age and living region, resulting in 40 reference groups. Within each of these groups a mean income level was calculated and individuals with an income below 70% of the mean income level in the reference group were considered as being relatively deprived. The results showed that more women than men were relatively deprived, but the effect of relative deprivation on self-rated health was more pronounced among men than among women. In order to estimate the importance of the effect of relative income versus the effect of absolute income, some analyses on the effect of relative deprivation on self-rated health were also carried out within different absolute income levels. When restricting the analysis to the lowest 40% of the income span the effect of relative deprivation almost disappeared. Relative deprivation may have a significant relation to health among men. However, for the 40% with the lowest income in the population the effect of relative deprivation on health is considerably reduced, possibly due to the more prominent relation between low absolute income and poor health.
AIMS: This paper explores the relationship between income and health among adults in Sweden. An analysis was made as to what extent the association differs when one studies individual earnings and equivalent disposable income, as well as gender differentials. Further, a study was undertaken to investigate how, and by what magnitude, the income-health relationship changes when one controls for other structural factors, such as education and class. Finally the functional form of the relationship was scrutinized, because of its obvious policy impact. METHODS: Data came from the 1996-97 Swedish Living Condition Surveys, which include individuals aged 25-64 (n=7,201). Logistic regression was used, including various polynomial terms of the income variable. RESULTS: The results show that both earnings and disposable household income are strongly related to health, a finding that holds for both women and men. The strength of the association becomes somewhat weaker when one controls for other structural factors, but in the final model the association is in fact about the same as the bivariate association, owing to the impact of age. Moreover, a curvilinear association was revealed by the authors' analyses. CONCLUSIONS: A clear association was found between income and health, also when other structural variables are controlled for. This indicates that income, as such, is of great importance for the risk of illness. The shape of the association between income and health is consistent with earlier debates concerning the relation between income distribution and population health indicators, and, as such, indicates that income-equalizing policies may have an impact on health.
We studied mortality differentials between specific groups of foreign-born immigrants in Sweden and whether socioeconomic position (SEP) could account for such differences.
We conducted a follow-up study of 1?997?666 men and 1?964?965 women ages 30 to 65 years based on data from national Swedish total population registers. We examined mortality risks in the 12 largest immigrant groups in Sweden between 1998 and 2006 using Cox regression. We also investigated deaths from all causes, circulatory disease, neoplasms, and external causes.
We found higher all-cause mortality among many immigrant categories, although some groups had lower mortality. When studying cause-specific mortality, we found the largest differentials in deaths from circulatory disease, whereas disparities in mortality from neoplasms were smaller. SEP, especially income and occupational class, accounted for most of the mortality differentials by country of birth.
Our findings stressed that different aspects of SEP were not interchangeable in relation to immigrant health. Although policies aimed at improving immigrants' socioeconomic conditions might be beneficial for health and longevity, our findings indicated that such policies might have varying effects depending on the specific country of origin and cause of death.
This study examines the extent to which high alcohol consumption, drug use, and delinquency vary between schools with different socioeconomic characteristics, over and above the pupil's own sociodemographic background.
Analyses are based on data on 5484 ninth-grade students distributed over 93 schools in Stockholm, from the 2010 Stockholm School Survey. School-level information was retrieved from the Swedish National Agency for Education. School disadvantage was determined by combining information on the level of education among parents and the share of pupils with a nonnative background, 2 aspects that have been shown to be central to school segregation in Sweden.
Results indicate significant school-to-school differences in relation to all outcomes. The risk for high alcohol consumption and drug use is greater in more advantaged school settings, adjusting for individual characteristics, whereas the opposite is true in relation to criminal behavior. The school's level of collective efficacy also seems to play an important, albeit not mediating, role.
Regardless of an adolescent's own background, the risk of having adverse health behaviors is higher at certain schools compared to others. However, school socioeconomic factors do not influence health behaviors consistently; instead, it seems as if the association varies depending on the behavior under study.
BACKGROUND: The incidence of myocardial infarction (MI) varies among socioeconomic groups, and geographic differences in incidence rates are observed within most urban regions. Whether spatial social differentiation gives rise to social contexts detrimental to health is still an open question. In this study, we evaluate 2 aspects of the neighborhood context as contributory factors in MI: level of economic resources and degree of socioeconomic homogeneity. We adopt a multilevel approach to analyze potential mechanisms, which involve individual social characteristics. METHODS: We analyzed data from the SHEEP study, a population-based case-control study of first events of acute MI in Stockholm County in 1992-1994. Data on socioeconomic characteristics in neighborhoods came from total population registers of income and social circumstances. RESULTS: The level of neighborhood socioeconomic resources had a contextual effect on the relative risk of MI after adjustment for individual social characteristics. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) in low-income, compared with high-income, neighborhoods was 1.88 for women and 1.52 for men. Although the degree of socioeconomic homogeneity in neighborhoods has less impact on MI, the IRR for men in homogenous low-income areas compared with men living in heterogeneous high-income areas was 2.65. For men, the combined exposure to low-personal disposable income and low-income level in the neighborhood seemed to have an additive effect but for women, a synergistic (supra-additive) effect was found. CONCLUSION: The socioeconomic context of neighborhoods has an effect on cardiovascular outcomes.