ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

Social Inequalities in Health: Insights from Cross-National Survey Research 2

Session Organiser Professor Sigrun Olafsdottir (University of Iceland)
TimeWednesday 17th July, 16:30 - 17:30
Room D31

Survey researchers have made important contributions to cross-national research on health inequalities for the past few decades, focusing on how the social context in which health inequalities are created and sustained, the prevalence of such inequalities and the consequences of them (e.g. Beckfield and Bambra 2016; Eikemo et al. 2008; Huijts, Eikemo, and Skalická 2010; Mackenbach et al 2015; Olafsdottir, Bakhtiari and Barman 2014; Wendt, Agartan and Kaminska 2013). This proposed session will focus on survey research on health inequalities by encouraging submission using relatively recent cross-national surveys, including the 2011 ISSP module on health, the 2016 ESS module on health inequalities, and the European Values Survey. Such data provides unique opportunities to better understand what it is about social inequality that produced health inequalities, and how this relationship may vary based on different institutional arrangements, cultural traditions and historical trajectories.

The Association between Social Networking Sites (SNSs) Use and Old People Health and Wellbeing

Dr Alessandra Gaia (University of Milan-Bicocca) - Presenting Author
Dr Emanuela Sala (University of Milan-Bicocca)
Mr Gabriele Cerati (University of Milan-Bicocca)

An aging population presents welfare systems and society as a whole with new and pressing challenges. Promoting an active aging is a way to tackle some of the challenges posed by an aging population, e.g., older people’s social exclusion. The key concepts on which the idea of active aging rests are the very notions of well-being and social participation. Within this context, the advent of the digital society can offer new possibilities to enhance older people’s well-being and social participation. However, while, theoretically, it could be argued that Social Networking Sites (SNSs) communication reduces social isolation and boosts the involvement of older people in their family life, there is limited empirical evidence to support or contrast this argument. Studies on the effect of SNSs use on health and wellbeing have been typically carried out on other age groups (adolescents) finding mixed results: some researchers suggest that the interaction on social media has a positive effect on wellbeing, while others suggest that the effect is negative. In this paper we study the effect of SNSs use on wellbeing and health in old age at using Eurobaromenter data. We will both study the overall effect in Europe as well as compare results between countries and across time.

Objective and Subjective Wealth and Their Impact on Adolescent Health - the Case of Weight Related Riskfactors - HBSC

Mrs Caroline Residori (University of Luxembourg) - Presenting Author
Mr Andreas Heinz (University of Luxembourg)

Increasing social inequalities call for a widening of our understanding of the key factors in the embodiment of social inequalities during childhood and adolescence. In comparison to earlier and later phases of the life course, analyses for young people show rather inconsistent influences of socio-economic status (SES) on the health and health behaviour during youth. Theoretical considerations suggest that the distinction between objective and subjective aspects of SES could be an important step in unravelling the causes behind these inconsistencies. Using the example of weight related health risks (including over- and underweight), this presentation shows how objective and subjective aspects of wealth relate to young people’s health and health behaviour and why their distinction is especially crucial in affluent countries like Luxembourg. The study uses data gathered from 11 to 17 year-olds by self-administered questionnaires in the context of the 2014 cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The relation of objective family wealth (measured by Family Affluence Scale-FAS) and subjective social status (measured by perceived wealth) with BMI outcomes and other weight related health risks is analysed using logistic regression. The results show distinct and even opposing influences of objective and subjective SES on young people’s health. Both the empirical results and theoretical considerations are used for an evaluation of the usefulness and relevance of the distinction between objective and subjective SES for the analysis of health inequalities during youth.

A Comparative Study of Religious Activity, Life and Health Expectancy: Results from the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)

Dr Chi-Tsun Chiu (Academia Sinica) - Presenting Author

There has been a long-standing history of research implicating religious participation as a determinant of health and mortality, most concluding that religious participation is salutary. Despite this long history of research, there are critical lacunae in the extant literature. First, research on religion and health has rarely considered mortality and morbidity simultaneously. Second, most studies focus solely on middle and older aged adults and U.S.-based samples where Judeo-Christian traditions dominate. Third, most research on religion and non-mortality health outcomes examine cross-sectional samples. Finally, not much research has been devoted to which characteristics moderate the religiosity health association. Here we introduce two potential factors: education and baseline health status. The current paper addresses these knowledge gaps by providing a comparative investigation on the degree religious participation associates with life and healthy life expectancy among adults aged 50+ across five countries (Poland, Israel, Italy, Spain and Sweden) of the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), these countries being characterized by different socioeconomic conditions as well as political, historical and traditional circumstances. We focus on health expectancy, which allows the simultaneous examination of mortality and morbidity, and consider several health outcomes as well as including key covariates such as education and baseline health as moderating factors. In the study, we calculate health expectancies based on three measures. The first is self-rated health. The second measure is the Global Activity Limitation Index (GALI). The third health measure was based on six Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Age, sex, socioeconomic status (measured by education), and social engagement are included in the analyses models. Our results show that religious activity is related to life expectancy and health expectancy at age 50. However, the association vary across countries.