Respective roles of social deprivation, health literacy, and clinical factors for COVID-19: a case-control study in hospitalized patients

Front Public Health. 2023 Nov 21:11:1239041. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1239041. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: To investigate the association between social deprivation and COVID-19 among hospitalized patients in an underprivileged department of the greater Paris area.

Methods: Individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 between March 1st and October 31, 2020, were included, matched on age and sex, and compared with patients hospitalized for any other reason with negative RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2, through a case-control study. Clinical, socio-demographic characteristics, health literacy, and social deprivation, assessed by the EPICES score, were collected. Factors associated with COVID-19 in hospitalized patients were assessed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models.

Results: 69 cases and 180 controls were included. Participants were mostly men (N = 148: 59.4%) aged 65 or older (N = 109: 44.1%). Median EPICES score was 43.2 (IQR 29.4-62.9). EPICES score > 30.17 (precariousness threshold) was not significantly associated with COVID-19 in hospitalized patients (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 0.46; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) [0.21-1.01]). Advanced age, higher BMI, professional activity, home area of less than 25 m2 per person, and low health literacy, were significantly associated with COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.

Discussion: This study highlights probable risk factors for specific exposition in disadvantaged area: maintenance of professional activity, smaller home area, and low health literacy.

Keywords: COVID-19; health literacy; hospital; inequalities in health; social deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Deprivation

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the “Est Ensemble” organization.