Health-related educational inequalities in paid employment across 26 European countries in 2005-2014: Repeated cross-sectional study
Oude Hengel, K.M.
Objective The study investigates the trends in health-related inequalities in paid employment among men and women in different educational groups in 26 countries in 5 European regions. Design Individual-level analysis of repeated cross-sectional annual data (2005-2014) from the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. Setting 26 European countries in 5 European regions. Participants 1 844 915 individuals aged 30-59 years were selected with information on work status, chronic illness, educational background, age and gender. Outcome measures Absolute differences were expressed by absolute differences in proportion in paid employment between participants with and without a chronic illness, using linear regression. Relative differences were expressed by prevalence ratios in paid employment, using a Cox proportional hazard model. Linear regression was used to examine the trends of inequalities. Results Participants with a chronic illness had consistently lower labour force participation than those without illnesses. Educational inequalities were substantial with absolute differences larger within lower educated (men 21%-35%, women 10%-31%) than within higher educated (men 5%-13%, women 6%-16%). Relative differences showed that low-educated men with a chronic illness were 1.4-1.9 times (women 1.3-1.8 times) more likely to be out of paid employment than low-educated persons without a chronic illness, whereas this was 1.1-1.2 among high-educated men and women. In the Nordic, Anglo-Saxon and Eastern regions, these health-related educational inequalities in paid employment were more pronounced than in the Continental and Southern region. For most regions, absolute health-related educational inequalities in paid employment were generally constant, whereas relative inequalities increased, especially among low-educated persons. Conclusions Men and women with a chronic illness have considerable less access to the labour market than their healthy colleagues, especially among lower educated persons. This exclusion from paid employment will increase health inequalities. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
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BMJ Open, 9 (9)