Published Papers - Abstract 134

Mishra GD, Ball K, Dobson AJ, Byles JE & Warner-Smith P. Which aspects of socioeconomic status are related to health in mid-aged and older women? International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Special Issue on Women’s Health, 2002; 9(3): 263-285

A population-based study was conducted to validate gender- and age-specific indexes of socio-economic status (SES) and to investigate the associations between these indexes and a range of health outcomes in 2 age cohorts of women. Data from 11,637 women aged 45-50 and 9,510 women aged 70 to 75 were analysed. Confirmatory factor analysis produced four domains of SES among the mid-aged cohort (employment, family unit, education and migration) and four domains among the older cohort (family unit, income, education and migration). Overall the results supported the factor structures derived from another population based study (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1995), reinforcing the argument that SES domains differ across age groups. In general, the findings also supported the hypotheses that women with low SES would have poorer health outcomes than higher SES women, and that the magnitude of these effects would differ according to the specific SES domain and by age group, with fewer and smaller differences observed among older women. The main exception was that in the older cohort, the education domain was significantly associated with specific health measures. Results suggest that relations between SES and health are highly complex and vary by age, SES domain, and the health outcome under study.