Correlates of socioeconomic status and the health of older people in the United Kingdom: a review

Rahman, Mijanur and Khan, Hafiz T. A. and Hafford-Letchfield, Trish (2016) Correlates of socioeconomic status and the health of older people in the United Kingdom: a review. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 24 (4). pp. 195-216. ISSN 1054-1373

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Abstract

This paper reviews the existing literature on the association between the socio-economic status (SES) and the health of the ageing population in the United Kingdom (UK). It has been noted that socio-economic differentials are more marked across the UK than they are in other developed countries. Social class gradients are significant in health for working age people (up to age 65), whereas studies on older populations have so far been limited so as to draw any robust conclusions. In this paper, we examine the inequalities through selected SES indicators in order to tease out the effects on health outcomes of the older population. We critically review the physical and mental health indicators of older people in the UK with regard to their SES differentials. The findings reveal that older people with lower SES are more likely to experience poorer health outcomes (for example, long-standing illness or increased disability) and have shorter life expectancy compared to those of higher SES. We illustrate how education remains the single most important determinant of health inequality in later life. We suggest that educational level or occupational class allied with material deprivation offer the best combined indicators of SES for studying health inequalities among older people. The findings of this paper has profound implications for prioritising policies to improve the health and wellbeing of elderly people with lower SES and go offer an evidence base of how to understand and to develop interventions that minimise the inequalities in health in later life in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online before print October 12, 2015
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 17458
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Hafiz Khan
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2015 09:26
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2018 08:26
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17458

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