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Economic recession and health inequalities in Japan: analysis with a national sample, 1986–2001

Economic recession and health inequalities in Japan: analysis with a national sample, 1986–2001 Objective:Little is known about whether economic crises widen health inequalities. Japan experienced more than 10 years of economic recession beginning in the 1990s. The question of whether socioeconomic-based inequality in self-rated health widened after the economic crisis was examined.Design, setting and participants:Repeated cross-sectional survey design. Two pooled datasets from 1986 and 1989 and from 1998 and 2001 were analysed separately, and temporal change was examined. The study took place in Japan among the working-age population (20–60 years old). The two surveys consisted of 168 801 and 150 016 people, respectively, with about an 80% response rate.Results:The absolute percentages of people reporting poor health declined across all socioeconomic statuses following the crisis. However, after controlling for confounding factors, the odds ratio (OR) for poor self-rated health (95% confidence intervals) among middle-class non-manual workers (clerical/sales/service workers) compared with the highest class workers (managers/administrators) was 1.02 (0.92 to 1.14) before the crisis but increased to 1.14 (1.02 to 1.29) after the crisis (p for temporal change = 0.02). The association was stronger among males. The adjusted ORs among professional workers and young female homemakers also marginally increased over time. Unemployed people were twice as likely to report poor health compared with the highest class workers throughout the period. Self-rated health of people with middle to higher incomes deteriorated in relative terms following the crisis compared with that of lower income people.Conclusions:Self-rated health improved in absolute terms for all occupational groups even after the economic recession. However, the relative disparity increased between the top and middle occupational groups in men. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health British Medical Journal

Economic recession and health inequalities in Japan: analysis with a national sample, 1986–2001

Economic recession and health inequalities in Japan: analysis with a national sample, 1986–2001

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health , Volume 62 (10) – Oct 12, 2008

Abstract

Objective:Little is known about whether economic crises widen health inequalities. Japan experienced more than 10 years of economic recession beginning in the 1990s. The question of whether socioeconomic-based inequality in self-rated health widened after the economic crisis was examined.Design, setting and participants:Repeated cross-sectional survey design. Two pooled datasets from 1986 and 1989 and from 1998 and 2001 were analysed separately, and temporal change was examined. The study took place in Japan among the working-age population (20–60 years old). The two surveys consisted of 168 801 and 150 016 people, respectively, with about an 80% response rate.Results:The absolute percentages of people reporting poor health declined across all socioeconomic statuses following the crisis. However, after controlling for confounding factors, the odds ratio (OR) for poor self-rated health (95% confidence intervals) among middle-class non-manual workers (clerical/sales/service workers) compared with the highest class workers (managers/administrators) was 1.02 (0.92 to 1.14) before the crisis but increased to 1.14 (1.02 to 1.29) after the crisis (p for temporal change = 0.02). The association was stronger among males. The adjusted ORs among professional workers and young female homemakers also marginally increased over time. Unemployed people were twice as likely to report poor health compared with the highest class workers throughout the period. Self-rated health of people with middle to higher incomes deteriorated in relative terms following the crisis compared with that of lower income people.Conclusions:Self-rated health improved in absolute terms for all occupational groups even after the economic recession. However, the relative disparity increased between the top and middle occupational groups in men.

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Publisher
British Medical Journal
Copyright
2008 the BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN
0143-005X
eISSN
1470-2738
DOI
10.1136/jech.2007.070334
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objective:Little is known about whether economic crises widen health inequalities. Japan experienced more than 10 years of economic recession beginning in the 1990s. The question of whether socioeconomic-based inequality in self-rated health widened after the economic crisis was examined.Design, setting and participants:Repeated cross-sectional survey design. Two pooled datasets from 1986 and 1989 and from 1998 and 2001 were analysed separately, and temporal change was examined. The study took place in Japan among the working-age population (20–60 years old). The two surveys consisted of 168 801 and 150 016 people, respectively, with about an 80% response rate.Results:The absolute percentages of people reporting poor health declined across all socioeconomic statuses following the crisis. However, after controlling for confounding factors, the odds ratio (OR) for poor self-rated health (95% confidence intervals) among middle-class non-manual workers (clerical/sales/service workers) compared with the highest class workers (managers/administrators) was 1.02 (0.92 to 1.14) before the crisis but increased to 1.14 (1.02 to 1.29) after the crisis (p for temporal change = 0.02). The association was stronger among males. The adjusted ORs among professional workers and young female homemakers also marginally increased over time. Unemployed people were twice as likely to report poor health compared with the highest class workers throughout the period. Self-rated health of people with middle to higher incomes deteriorated in relative terms following the crisis compared with that of lower income people.Conclusions:Self-rated health improved in absolute terms for all occupational groups even after the economic recession. However, the relative disparity increased between the top and middle occupational groups in men.

Journal

Journal of Epidemiology & Community HealthBritish Medical Journal

Published: Oct 12, 2008

References