Exploring the relation between class, gender, and self rated general health using the new socioeconomic classification. A study using data from the 2001 census

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the relation between class, gender, and self rated health in adults in Great Britain.

Design:

Cross sectional study using data from the 2001 national census.

Setting:

Great Britain.

Setting:

Participants: Adults aged between 25 and 64 in Great Britain, enumerated in the 2001 census (n = 30.3 million).

Main outcome measures:

Age standardised rates of self rated general health for men and women in different socioeconomic groupings as defined by the National Statistics classification (NS-SeC), rate ratios and the (modified) relative index of inequality.

Results:

There was a pronounced gradient in rates of “not good” health among people in different social positions. The rate for people in class 7 (routine occupations) was more than double that for people in class 1 (higher managerial and professional occupations): 95 per 1000 and 37 per 1000 respectively. Health inequalities were larger for men than for women—the rate ratio of class 7 to class 1 was 2.7 for men and 2.2 for women. The nature and size of the gender differences varied by socioeconomic class, with the greatest gap among people in class 1 (higher managerial and professional occupations), where the rate for women was 25% higher than for men.

Conclusions:

The NS-SeC shows a pronounced gradient in self rated general health across the population of working age in Great Britain in 2001. It was found that the NS-SeC was a useful measure for women, although it may be better at classifying men. The size of the gender gap in “not good” health varied by NS-SeC class.

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