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Region Hovedstaden - en del af Københavns Universitetshospital
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Social differences in illness and health-related exclusion from the labour market in Denmark from 1987 to 1994

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OBJECTIVE: The objectives were first to analyse differences in long-standing illness, limiting long-standing illness, and perceived health as below good in relation to different indicators of social class over time; and secondly to analyse the association of long-standing illness, educational level, age, and gender with employment status.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Self-reported information on illness, educational level, employment status, and occupational class was obtained in two nationally representative Danish health interview surveys in 1987 (n=4753) and 1994 (n=4668).

RESULTS: There was a marked increase in long-standing illness from 1987 (33%) to 1994 (38%), especially among women with higher education (13% in 1987 to 26% in 1994). The prevalence of perceived health below good was unchanged (c. 20%) during the same period. Among employed men in 1987 the lowest prevalence of long-standing illness was seen in upper salaried employees (21%) and the highest in skilled workers (35%). In 1994, the difference had diminished and the prevalence rates for the same classes were 28% and 29%, respectively. Among employed women, a similar pattern was seen. The lowest rate in 1987 was seen among self-employed with subordinates (15%) and the highest in self-employed without subordinates (28%). In 1994, the difference was reduced with prevalence rates of 23% and 32%, respectively. In addition, substantial differences in health status between groups with different educational backgrounds were found. The proportion of the population with long-standing illnesses was clearly higher in the group with low education compared with the group with high education. A similar social gradient was found for perceived health as below good. Those with the highest odds ratio of being a disability pensioner are women with long-standing illness, only basic education, and above 55 years of age.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the study showed that the prevalence of long-standing illness increased from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, whereas perceived health below good was unchanged. In 1994, there was a remarkable difference in health between employed and non-employed people, indicating a health-related exclusion from the labour market. This may explain why, in 1994, smaller occupational class differences were found in the prevalence of long-standing illness among employed people compared with the findings in 1987, whereas the health differences remained in the different educational groups. Women above 54 years of age with basic education only and long-standing illness have the highest odds ratio of permanent exclusion from the labour market.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Vol/bind55
Sider (fra-til)19-30
Antal sider12
ISSN1403-4956
StatusUdgivet - 2001

ID: 48353627