From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

(Re)emerging health inequalities

This area of research focused on the youth-adult transition, the principal hypothesis being that the pattern of relative equality in youth is replaced by the more familiar one of health inequalities in adulthood.  Evidence on this issue came from the Twenty-07 study

Although there were striking differences in health (particularly mental health) among 18 year-olds in 1990 according to their labour market position (unemployed youth being in much poorer health), this was not matched by differences according to social class of background.  A similar lack of variation was found at age 23, both by reference to class of background and respondents' own (occupational) class.  While earlier studies had demonstrated health inequalities by this age, the phenomenon of the extension of youth in contemporary society may have delayed their (re)emergence to a later age.



West P, Sweeting H. Evidence on equalisation in health in youth from the West of Scotland. Social Science & Medicine 2004;59:13-27



West P, Sweeting H. Fifteen, female and stressed: changing patterns of psychological distress over time. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2003;44:399-411



West P. Health inequalities in the early years: is there equalisation in youth?. Social Science & Medicine 1997;44:833-58

open access  


West P, Sweeting H. Health inequalities: what's going on in youth?. Health Education 1996;5:14-20

West P, Sweeting H. Nae job, nae future: young people and health in a context of unemployment. Health & Social Care in the Community 1996;4:50-62


Sweeting H, West P. Family life and health in adolescence: a role for culture in the health inequalities debate?. Social Science & Medicine 1995;40:163-175



Ford G, Ecob R, Hunt K, Macintyre S, West P. Patterns of class inequality in health through the lifespan: class gradients at 15, 35 and 55 years in the West of Scotland. Social Science & Medicine 1994;39:1037-1050

pubmed  open access  


West P. Rethinking the health selection explanation for health inequalities. Social Science & Medicine 1991;32:373-384

open access  


West P, Macintyre S, Annandale E, Hunt K. Social class and health in youth: findings from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study. Social Science & Medicine 1990;30:665-673

pubmed  open access  

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  • Labour market position

    An individual's position in the labour market (in work/training, student, retired etc), also referred to as economic activity.

  • Social mobility

    Refers to change in an individual's social class position (upward or downward) either between their own and their parents' social class (inter-generational mobility) or over the course of their working career (intra-generational mobility)

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