English title: Social mobility and health in European countries: Does welfare regime type matter?

Author(s): Ines Campos-Matos - Ichiro Kawachi -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015


Health inequalities pose an important public health challenge in European countries, for which increased social mobility has been suggested as a cause. We sought to describe how the relationship between health inequalities and social mobility varies among welfare regime types in the European region. Data from six rounds of the European Social Survey was analyzed using multilevel statistical techniques, stratified by welfare regime type, including 237,535 individuals from 136 countries. Social mobility among individuals was defined according to the discrepancy between parental and offspring educational attainment. For each welfare regime type, the association between social mobility and self-rated health was examined using odds ratios and risk differences, controlling for parental education. Upwardly mobile individuals had between 23 and 44% lower odds of reporting bad or very bad self-rated health when compared to those who remained stable. On an absolute scale, former USSR countries showed the biggest and only significant differences for upward movement, while Scandinavian countries showed the smallest. Downward social mobility tended to be associated with worse health, but the results were less consistent. Upward social mobility is associated with worse health in all European welfare regime types. However, in Scandinavian countries the association of upward mobility was smaller, suggesting that the Nordic model is more effective in mitigating the impact of social mobility on health and/or of health on mobility.

Volume: 142

Issue: 0

From page no: 241

To page no: 248

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1016/J.SOCSCIMED.2015.08.035

Journal: Social Science and Medicine

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