Comparison and relative utility of inequality measurements: as applied to Scotland’s child dental health

Blair, Y.I., McMahon, A.D. and Macpherson, L.M.D. (2013) Comparison and relative utility of inequality measurements: as applied to Scotland’s child dental health. PLoS ONE, 8(3), e58593. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058593) (PMID:23520524) (PMCID:PMC3592808)

82792.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



This study compared and assessed the utility of tests of inequality on a series of very large population caries datasets. National cross-sectional caries datasets for Scotland’s 5-year-olds in 1993/94 (n = 5,078); 1995/96 (n = 6,240); 1997/98 (n = 6,584); 1999/00 (n = 6,781); 2002/03 (n = 9,747); 2003/04 (n = 10,956); 2005/06 (n = 10,945) and 2007/08 (n = 12,067) were obtained. Outcomes were based on the d3mft metric (i.e. the number of decayed, missing and filled teeth). An area-based deprivation category (DepCat) measured the subjects’ socioeconomic status (SES). Simple absolute and relative inequality, Odds Ratios and the Significant Caries Index (SIC) as advocated by the World Health Organization were calculated. The measures of complex inequality applied to data were: the Slope Index of Inequality (absolute) and a variety of relative inequality tests i.e. Gini coefficient; Relative Index of Inequality; concentration curve; Koolman and Doorslaer’s transformed Concentration Index; Receiver Operator Curve and Population Attributable Risk (PAR). Additional tests used were plots of SIC deciles (SIC10) and a Scottish Caries Inequality Metric (SCIM10). Over the period, mean d3mft improved from 3.1(95%CI 3.0–3.2) to 1.9(95%CI 1.8–1.9) and d3mft = 0% from 41.1(95%CI 39.8–42.3) to 58.3(95%CI 57.8–59.7). Absolute simple and complex inequality decreased. Relative simple and complex inequality remained comparatively stable. Our results support the use of the SII and RII to measure complex absolute and relative SES inequalities alongside additional tests of complex relative inequality such as PAR and Koolman and Doorslaer’s transformed CI. The latter two have clear interpretations which may influence policy makers. Specialised dental metrics (i.e. SIC, SIC10 and SCIM10) permit the exploration of other important inequalities not determined by SES, and could be applied to many other types of disease where ranking of morbidity is possible e.g. obesity. More generally, the approaches described may be applied to study patterns of health inequality affecting worldwide populations.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Lorna and McMahon, Dr Alex and Blair, Dr Yvonne
Authors: Blair, Y.I., McMahon, A.D., and Macpherson, L.M.D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Dental School
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 8(5):e58593
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record