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Evidence from the 2001 English Census on the contribution of employment status to the social gradient in self-rated health

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Clare Bambra



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by BMJ Group, 2010.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Background: Unemployment and economic inactivity are associated with poor health. There are social gradients in unemployment and economic inactivity, so it was hypothesised that they may contribute to the social gradient in self-rated health. Methods: Data on employment status, socio-economic position (SEP) and self-rated heath were obtained for people of working age (25–59) who had ever worked from a 3% sample of the 2001 English census. The age-adjusted prevalence differences in poor general health for four separate measures of SEP were compared with the prevalence differences obtained after additional adjustment for employment status. Results: Prevalence differences for poor health were reduced by 50% or over when adjusting for employment status (for men ranging from 57% to 81%, for women 50% to 74%). Discussion: The social gradient in employment status contributes greatly to the social gradient in self-reported health. Understanding why this is the case could be important for tackling social inequalities in health.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Popham F, Bambra C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Year: 2010

Volume: 64

Issue: 3

Pages: 277-280

Print publication date: 01/03/2010

Online publication date: 04/03/2010

Date deposited: 05/02/2017

ISSN (print): 0143-005X

ISSN (electronic): 1470-2738

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/jech.2009.087452


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