The importance of psychosocial stressors for socio-economic inequalities in perceived health

K Stronks*, H Van de Mheen, CWN Looman, JP Mackenbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The uneven distribution of psychosocial stressors as well as their differential health impact have been suggested as a possible explanation for socio-economic inequalities in health. We assessed the importance of both explanations, using data from the baseline of a Dutch longitudinal study. The outcome measure was the prevalence of perceived health problems. Educational level was used as an indicator of socio-economic status, whilst both life-events and long-term difficulties were included as stressors. We controlled for educational differences in neuroticism in order to eliminate any bias which might arise from the fact that people in Lower educational groups are more inclined to report both stressors and health problems. The higher exposure to stressors was found to contribute to the increased risk of perceived health problems, even after differences in neuroticism were taken into account. Long-term difficulties, especially those related to material conditions, account for most of the effect. The impact of stress on health was hardly found to be moderated by educational level. The implications for future research are discussed. (C) 1997 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-623
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume46
Issue number4-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • socio-economic inequalities in health
  • stressors
  • neuroticism
  • LIFE EVENTS
  • NEGATIVE AFFECTIVITY
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL VULNERABILITY
  • SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS
  • DISTRESS
  • SUPPORT
  • DISEASE
  • NEUROTICISM
  • MEN
  • PERSONALITY

Cite this

Stronks, K ; Van de Mheen, H ; Looman, CWN ; Mackenbach, JP. / The importance of psychosocial stressors for socio-economic inequalities in perceived health. In: Social Science & Medicine. 1998 ; Vol. 46, No. 4-5. pp. 611-623.
@article{1f44604a571949c2bcd978b4d2c908de,
title = "The importance of psychosocial stressors for socio-economic inequalities in perceived health",
abstract = "The uneven distribution of psychosocial stressors as well as their differential health impact have been suggested as a possible explanation for socio-economic inequalities in health. We assessed the importance of both explanations, using data from the baseline of a Dutch longitudinal study. The outcome measure was the prevalence of perceived health problems. Educational level was used as an indicator of socio-economic status, whilst both life-events and long-term difficulties were included as stressors. We controlled for educational differences in neuroticism in order to eliminate any bias which might arise from the fact that people in Lower educational groups are more inclined to report both stressors and health problems. The higher exposure to stressors was found to contribute to the increased risk of perceived health problems, even after differences in neuroticism were taken into account. Long-term difficulties, especially those related to material conditions, account for most of the effect. The impact of stress on health was hardly found to be moderated by educational level. The implications for future research are discussed. (C) 1997 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "socio-economic inequalities in health, stressors, neuroticism, LIFE EVENTS, NEGATIVE AFFECTIVITY, PSYCHOLOGICAL VULNERABILITY, SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS, DISTRESS, SUPPORT, DISEASE, NEUROTICISM, MEN, PERSONALITY",
author = "K Stronks and {Van de Mheen}, H and CWN Looman and JP Mackenbach",
year = "1998",
doi = "10.1016/S0277-9536(97)00206-2",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
pages = "611--623",
journal = "Social Science & Medicine",
issn = "0277-9536",
publisher = "PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD",
number = "4-5",

}

The importance of psychosocial stressors for socio-economic inequalities in perceived health. / Stronks, K; Van de Mheen, H; Looman, CWN; Mackenbach, JP.

In: Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 46, No. 4-5, 1998, p. 611-623.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The importance of psychosocial stressors for socio-economic inequalities in perceived health

AU - Stronks, K

AU - Van de Mheen, H

AU - Looman, CWN

AU - Mackenbach, JP

PY - 1998

Y1 - 1998

N2 - The uneven distribution of psychosocial stressors as well as their differential health impact have been suggested as a possible explanation for socio-economic inequalities in health. We assessed the importance of both explanations, using data from the baseline of a Dutch longitudinal study. The outcome measure was the prevalence of perceived health problems. Educational level was used as an indicator of socio-economic status, whilst both life-events and long-term difficulties were included as stressors. We controlled for educational differences in neuroticism in order to eliminate any bias which might arise from the fact that people in Lower educational groups are more inclined to report both stressors and health problems. The higher exposure to stressors was found to contribute to the increased risk of perceived health problems, even after differences in neuroticism were taken into account. Long-term difficulties, especially those related to material conditions, account for most of the effect. The impact of stress on health was hardly found to be moderated by educational level. The implications for future research are discussed. (C) 1997 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

AB - The uneven distribution of psychosocial stressors as well as their differential health impact have been suggested as a possible explanation for socio-economic inequalities in health. We assessed the importance of both explanations, using data from the baseline of a Dutch longitudinal study. The outcome measure was the prevalence of perceived health problems. Educational level was used as an indicator of socio-economic status, whilst both life-events and long-term difficulties were included as stressors. We controlled for educational differences in neuroticism in order to eliminate any bias which might arise from the fact that people in Lower educational groups are more inclined to report both stressors and health problems. The higher exposure to stressors was found to contribute to the increased risk of perceived health problems, even after differences in neuroticism were taken into account. Long-term difficulties, especially those related to material conditions, account for most of the effect. The impact of stress on health was hardly found to be moderated by educational level. The implications for future research are discussed. (C) 1997 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

KW - socio-economic inequalities in health

KW - stressors

KW - neuroticism

KW - LIFE EVENTS

KW - NEGATIVE AFFECTIVITY

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL VULNERABILITY

KW - SOCIOECONOMIC-STATUS

KW - DISTRESS

KW - SUPPORT

KW - DISEASE

KW - NEUROTICISM

KW - MEN

KW - PERSONALITY

U2 - 10.1016/S0277-9536(97)00206-2

DO - 10.1016/S0277-9536(97)00206-2

M3 - Article

VL - 46

SP - 611

EP - 623

JO - Social Science & Medicine

JF - Social Science & Medicine

SN - 0277-9536

IS - 4-5

ER -