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Long-term exposure to income inequality: implications for physical functioning at older ages

de Vries, Robert, Blane, David, Netuveli, Gopalakrishnan (2014) Long-term exposure to income inequality: implications for physical functioning at older ages. European Journal of Ageing, 11 (1). pp. 19-29. ISSN 1613-9372. (doi:10.1007/s10433-013-0285-5) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:48112)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-013-0285-5

Abstract

The ‘inequality hypothesis’ proposes that higher levels of societal income inequality have a direct negative causal effect on health. Support for this hypothesis has been mixed; particularly among older people. However, most previous studies have not accounted for people’s exposure to inequality over the long-term. We aimed to address this problem by examining the implications of long-term inequality exposure for older people’s physical health. Data on individual health and covariates were drawn from three large, comparable surveys of older people, covering 16 countries: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe and the U.S. Health and Retirement Study. Historical inequality information was derived from the Standardised World Income Inequality Database. We used multilevel regression methods to model the association between long-term average inequality and three measures of physical functioning: grip strength, lung function and self-reported activity limitation. Exposure to higher average long-term levels of inequality was significantly negatively related to objectively measured grip strength and lung function, but unrelated to self-reported limitations (although increasing inequality over time was positively related to self-reported limitations). The grip strength and lung function associations were partially explained by between-country differences in height, and in the latter case this factor may fully account for the apparent effect of inequality. We discuss implications of these results for the inequality hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10433-013-0285-5
Uncontrolled keywords: Older people Income inequality Physical functioning Lag-times Inequality hypothesis
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Robert De Vries
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 15:05 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2020 04:06 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48112 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
de Vries, Robert: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6776-836X
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