Health and social mobility in working age men and women

Mel Bartley, University College London

[Project number 40001]

In 1997 Bartley and Plewis using data from the 1981 and 1991 LS linkages showed for the first time evidence of a 'social health gradient constraint'. Before this time, health related social mobility had long been thought to inflate health differences between social classes. Bartley and Plewis showed that, on the contrary, health inequality would be greater if there were less social mobility. The aim of this study is (a) to replicate the study of social mobility 1981-1991 for 1991-2001 (b) to make use of the fact that there is now a long standing illness variable at two time points rather than only one.

The LS is one of the largest studies of social mobility that has ever been carried out, being 0.5m persons followed now for a period of 30 years. Because it is census linked it suffers far less from loss to follow up, compared to the US PSID for example. The only comparable data sets could be compiled using the Register systems of the Nordic nations.