Poor but healthy? The youngest generation of Irish Catholics in West Scotland

Abbotts, J., Sweeting, H. , Williams, R. and West, P. (2001) Poor but healthy? The youngest generation of Irish Catholics in West Scotland. Health Bulletin, 59, pp. 373-379.

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OBJECTIVE: Catholic adults in the West of Scotland, who are mainly of Irish origin, have been shown to suffer excess morbidity and mortality compared to the general population. A major contributing factor to this inequality is socio-economic disadvantage. This paper investigates the health and socio-economic position of Catholics in the youngest generation. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of baseline data from the West of Scotland 11-16 Study: Teenage Health, which is a longitudinal school-based survey. SETTING: One hundred and thirty five primary schools in Glasgow and surrounding districts. SUBJECTS: Two thousand five hundred and eighty six final-year pupils (average age eleven years and three months), born in 1983/1984. RESULTS: Comparing Catholics and non-Catholics on a range of indicators of general health, recent acute symptoms, chronic conditions, mental health and physical measures, we found no evidence of any systematic health inequality. A few indicators did show statistically significant differences at the five percent level, but these were not in any consistent direction. In terms of household socio-economic position, though, we found strong evidence of disadvantage for Catholics. Catholic children were more likely to have parents of manual social class, without any formal qualifications, who were less likely to own their home or a car, more likely to express difficulty 'making ends meet', and more likely to live in a deprived area. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the prospects for diminishing socio-economic inequality over time between Catholics and non-Catholics in this cohort, which will depend on Catholic social mobility. We consider the likelihood of enduring health equality for Catholics, which will depend on the effects of different influences on health over the life course.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Abbotts, J., Sweeting, H., Williams, R., and West, P.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Health Bulletin

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