Comparing the education gradient in health deterioration among the elderly in six OECD countries

TitleComparing the education gradient in health deterioration among the elderly in six OECD countries
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsCôté-Sergent, A, Fonseca, R, Strumpf, E
JournalHealth Policy
Pagination326 - 335
ISSN Number0168-8510
KeywordsEducation, Health deterioration, Older ages

Inequalities in health by educational attainment are persistent both over time and across countries. However, their magnitudes, evolution, and main drivers are not necessarily consistent across jurisdictions. We examine the health deterioration-education gradient among older adults in the United States, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, including how it changes over time between 2004 and 2010. Using longitudinal survey data, we first assess how rates of health deterioration in terms of poor health, difficulties with activities of daily living, and chronic conditions vary by educational attainment. We find systematic differences in rates of health deterioration, as well as in the health deterioration-education gradients, across countries. We then examine how potential confounders, including demographic characteristics, income, health care utilisation and health behaviours, affect the health deterioration-education gradient within countries over time. We demonstrate that while adjusting for confounders generally diminishes the health deterioration-education gradient, the impacts of these variables vary somewhat across countries. Our findings suggest that determinants of, and policy levers to affect, the health deterioration-education gradient likely vary across countries and health systems.

Citation KeyCOTESERGENT2020326