Morbidity and Irish Catholic descent in Britain: relating health disadvantage to socio-economic position

Abbotts, J., Williams, R. and Ford, G. (2001) Morbidity and Irish Catholic descent in Britain: relating health disadvantage to socio-economic position. Social Science and Medicine, 52(7), pp. 999-1005. (doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00200-8)

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In common with some other ethnic and religious minorities whose forebears migrated from their country of origin, Irish Catholics in Britain are less well off than the host population in terms of socio-economic position and health. Results are presented from a Scottish study, where Catholic religion of origin mainly indicates Irish ancestry, and it is estimated that about one-third of the population is of significant Irish descent. In this study, excess of physical and mental health problems and disability have previously been reported for those of Catholic background, particularly in the eldest cohort (aged 56 in 1988), and have not been fully explained by health-related behaviour. In this paper, we examine a number of key health measures, namely self-assessed health, number of symptoms in the month prior to interview, sadness or depression, disability and lung function, and various indicators of socio-economic position (head of household social class, main source of income, car ownership, housing tenure and school-leaving age), which all show Catholic disadvantage. Using longitudinal results from the 723 respondents who completed interviews both at sweeps one (1988) and three (1995), it is estimated that about half of the morbidity excess amongst middle-aged Catholics in Glasgow can be explained by socio-economic disadvantage. The health and socio-economic position of white minorities and disadvantaged religious minorities like Catholics in Scotland should be monitored by a co-ordinated information strategy.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ford, Prof Gary
Authors: Abbotts, J., Williams, R., and Ford, G.
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
Journal Name:Social Science and Medicine

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