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Int J Equity Health. 2010 Jan 23;9:3. doi: 10.1186/1475-9276-9-3.

Socioeconomic inequalities in general and psychological health among adolescents: a cross-sectional study in senior high schools in Greece.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Ioannina, School of Medicine, Greece. nadia.magklara@gmail.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Socioeconomic health inequalities in adolescence are not consistently reported. This may be due to the measurement of self-reported general health, which probably fails to fully capture the psychological dimension of health, and the reliance on traditional socio-economic indicators, such as parental education or occupational status. The present study aimed at investigating this issue using simple questions to assess both the physical and psychological dimension of health and a broader set of socioeconomic indicators than previously used.

METHODS:

This was a cross-sectional survey of 5614 adolescents aged 16-18 years-old from 25 senior high schools in Greece. Self-reported general and psychological health were both measured by means of a simple Likert-type question. We assessed the following socio-economic variables: parents' education, parents' employment status, a subjective assessment of the financial difficulties experienced by the family and adolescents' own academic performance as a measure of the personal social position in the school setting.

RESULTS:

One out of ten (10%) and one out of three (32%) adolescents did not enjoy good general and psychological health respectively. For both health variables robust associations were found in adolescents who reported more financial difficulties in the family and had worse academic performance. The latter was associated with psychological health in a more linear way. Father's unemployment showed a non-significant trend for an association with worse psychological health in girls only.

CONCLUSIONS:

Socioeconomic inequalities exist in this period of life but are more easily demonstrated with more subjective socioeconomic indicators, especially for the psychological dimension of health.

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