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Eur J Public Health. 2014 Jun;24(3):364-70. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku017. Epub 2014 Feb 25.

Socioeconomic inequalities in the quality of life of older Europeans in different welfare regimes.

Author information

1
1 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK claire.niedzwiedz@gmail.com.
2
1 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK2 Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
3
1 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Whether socioeconomic inequalities in health and well-being persist into old age and are narrower in more generous welfare states is debated. We investigated the magnitude of socioeconomic inequality in the quality of life of Europeans in early old age and the influence of the welfare regime type on these relationships.

METHODS:

Data from individuals aged 50-75 years (n = 16 074) residing in 13 European countries were derived from Waves 2 and 3 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. Slope indices of inequality (SIIs) were calculated for the association between socioeconomic position and CASP-12, a measure of positive quality of life. Multilevel linear regression was used to assess the overall relationship between socioeconomic position and quality of life, using interaction terms to investigate the influence of the type of welfare regime (Southern, Scandinavian, Post-communist or Bismarckian).

RESULTS:

Socioeconomic inequalities in quality of life were narrowest in the Scandinavian and Bismarckian regimes, and were largest by measures of current wealth. Compared with the Scandinavian welfare regime, where narrow inequalities in quality of life by education level were found in both men (SII = 0.02, 95% CI: -1.09 to 1.13) and women (SII = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.05-2.17), the difference in quality of life between the least and most educated was particularly wide in Southern and Post-communist regimes.

CONCLUSION:

Individuals in more generous welfare regimes experienced higher levels of quality of life, as well as narrower socioeconomic inequalities in quality of life.

PMID:
24568754
PMCID:
PMC4032483
DOI:
10.1093/eurpub/cku017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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