174277 Socioeconomic status in health: Analysis of a local sample

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Georgia N. L. J. Polacek, PhD CHES , Health Sciences, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Health status has been linked to socioeconomic status (SES). SES is comprised of work, educational attainment, income, and class. This study examined the relationship among the components of these variables and perception of health, health insurance, and access to health care. Data were collected via random digit telephone interviews and analyzed using chi-square and logistic regressions.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents reported being in poor or fair health. Fourteen percent of respondents were living at or below the poverty level. Those in poverty were more than twice as likely to report poor or fair health and were 2.95 times more likely to have high school or less education. Twenty one percent of respondents had no insurance or did not respond. Those with high school or less were 3.8 times more likely to be uninsured. Those of working age were 15 times more likely to be uninsured. Those without health insurance were 4.6 times more likely to have no usual source of health care.

The area has a storied past and there is considerable evidence of bias and discrimination in development and allocation of community resources. Local averages of high school drop out rates were approximately 35%. Many may perceive that having access to educational opportunities beyond high school and jobs that require this education are unattainable.

Post-high school education benefits include improved health status and disease outcomes. Policies must be enacted to promote completion of high school, equity in access to higher education, and job opportunities for those who attend college.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to define the socioeconomic construct. Participants will be able to describe the relationship of socioeconomic status and health. Participants will be able to discuss how policies can influence socioeconomic status and health.

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the analysis for the study and wrote the paper
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.