Macro Context and Health Inequalities
There is growing recognition that people’s health is related to the social and economic circumstances and policies of the place in which they live. Such factors play an important role in shaping life circumstances over the lifecourse. Understanding how these macro circumstances vary over time (whether they are at the international, national, regional level etc.) and between places, and how these relate to patterns of health and health inequalities is very important. For example, research is starting to shed light on the possible role economic and social policy change has played in widening inequalities in health in recent decades. Yet our understanding of how macro context influences health inequalities is still relatively limited. In this research theme we aim to explore the pathways and mechanisms which may explain these associations.
One example of our work in this area is exploring how changes in the level and type of employment for working age men and women in different social groups has been influenced by changes in economic policy. We are then examining how these changes in employment may influence people’s health. Being based in and around Glasgow through most of the twentieth century the Twenty-07 study covers a large period of economic and social change. We plan to explore changes in the lives of Twenty-07 respondents over time with similar studies in other countries with differing economic and policy environments. We will also draw on other longitudinal and comparative datasets.
Popham F, Dibben C, Bambra C. Are health inequalities really not the smallest in the Nordic welfare states? A comparison of mortality inequality in 37 countries. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:412-418pubmed open access
Seaman R. Which age groups are driving mortality in Glasgow? Decomposing life expectancy inequalities across all deprivation deciles [MPH], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2013.
Skivington K. Incapacity benefit, employment transitions and health: evidence from longitudinal data and a qualitative study [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2013.open access