A new reliable index to measure individual deprivation: the EPICES score

Eur J Public Health. 2015 Aug;25(4):604-9. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku231. Epub 2015 Jan 25.


Background: Deprivation is associated with inequalities in health care and higher morbidity and mortality. To assess the reliability of a new individual deprivation score, the EPICES score and to analyse the association between the Townsend index, the Carstairs index and the EPICES score and causes of death in one French administrative region.

Methods: Eligible patients were 16 years old or more who had come for consultation in Health Examination Centres of the French administrative region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. An ecological study was performed between 2002 and 2007 in the 392 districts of this administrative region. The EPICES score was compared with the Townsend and the Carstairs indices. These three measurements of deprivation were compared with social characteristics, indicators of morbidity, health-care use and mortality and specific causes of death. The Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the reliability of the EPICES score. The association between deprivation and mortality was assessed by comparison of the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) between the most and least deprived districts.

Results: The EPICES score was strongly correlated with the Townsend and Carstairs indices and with the health indicators measured. SMR increased with deprivation and the higher the deprivation the higher the SMR for all-cause mortality, premature and avoidable deaths and for most specific causes of death.

Conclusion: The individual deprivation EPICES score is reliable. Deprivation was related to excess death rate, which clearly indicates that deprivation is a determinant factor that should be considered systematically by health policy makers and health-care providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Young Adult