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ISER Working Paper Series 2018-14

Distributional analysis of the role of breadth and persistence of multiple deprivation in the health gradient measured by biomarkers


Publication date

15 Nov 2018


This paper analyses the relationship between health and socioeconomic status ac- counting for the role of breadth and persistence of multiple deprivation. Adopting a holistic approach to multidimensional deprivation, we construct measures of absolute and relative deprivation and use these measures along with a range of nurse measured and blood-based biomarkers for a distributional analysis of the relationship between so- cioeconomic status and health. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey and Understanding Society, our analysis finds the presence of systematic multidimensional deprivation gradient across the distribution of most of our biomarkers (BMI, waist cir- cumference, heart rate, C-reactive protein and HbA1c) beyond income, with the size of this gradient to be substantially larger at higher tails of the biomarker distribution. De- composition analysis of the contribution of components of deprivation to health suggests breadth of deprivation to dominate the contribution over persistence. Health policy pri- oritising health of people enduring deprivation across multiple domains, i.e., people who experience dual burden of deprivation across several domains and poor health, may be particularly effective at reducing the risk of falling into a health-deprivation trap.


Poverty, Health, Life Course Analysis, Social Stratification, and Biology


Referenced by: Understanding Society (2018) ‘Written evidence from Understanding Society the UK Household Longitudinal Study (WSN0051) [Work and Pensions Select Committee. Welfare safety net inquiry]’. London: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Work and Pensions Select Committee.

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