Cultural, behavioural, structuralist and psych-social factors of socio-economic differentials in health are explained.

What are the socio-economic differentials in health and how can they be explained? This job offers details about the link between SES and health. Resources are included.

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...onchitis were the same as those for lung cancer and yet identical drift is unlikely in the case of lung cancer due to its rapid clinical course. Furthermore the Whitehall I study found that mortality differentials remained when analysis focused only on those found with no disease, that is, those whom downward drift due to poor health was unlikely (Mermot et al, 1984). Others have noted there exists a 'mismatch' between the years during which social mobility was most prevalent and those characterized by impaired health.

Social selection then, cannot adequately explain SES-health differentials. If this is little implicated it must be that characteristics of different SES locations or of those who populate them that determines health status. Carroll et al (1996) suggest that SES constitutes a 'proxy for the propensity of different social groups to engage in unhealthy behaviours', for example cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Behavioural or cultural explanations of differentials are distinguished by the 'independent and autonomous causal role, which they assign to ideas and behaviour' (Townsend & Davidson, 1982). Such explanations see the 'individual' emerging as a bundle of ideas and behaviours. Marmot et al (1991) found that cigarette smoking is linked to low SES; this gradient is also likely to increase into the foreseeable future (Pugh et al, 1991). Blaxter (1987) discovered that health damaging behaviours are more prevalent in the lower SES groups; however, studies controlling for choices contradict this 'lifestyle choices' explanation (Davey-Smith & Shipley, 1991).

Evidence suggests that unhealthy behaviours such as smoking provide anything but a complete account. Results have revealed that by statistically controlling for such behaviours the gradient may attenuate SES-health relationship but it in no way abolishes them (Carroll et al, 1996). Moreover, Haan et al (1987) revealed that the gradient of mortality with 'family income' persisted when 13 health-risk factors, including smoking, diet and exercise were taken into account.

Furthermore, in the 10yr follow up Whitehall study, the all cause mortality differentials by occupational grade and car ownership for those men who ...