Course of health status among chronically ill persons: differentials according to level of education

J Clin Epidemiol. 1998 Mar;51(3):171-9. doi: 10.1016/s0895-4356(97)00267-9.


This article describes socioeconomic differences in the time course of several health indicators, encompassing perceived health and disabilities, among a population sample of persons reporting one or more chronic conditions. Data covering the period 1991-1993, were obtained from a Dutch follow-up study. Educational differences in the course of health status were estimated by ordinary least squares regression. The course of almost all health status measures was statistically significantly less favorable (p<0.05) for those with a low educational level compared to those with higher vocational training or a university degree, adjusting for age, sex, and marital status. After additional adjustment for health status in 1991, significant differences remained for perceived general health, long-term disabilities, and two subscales of the Nottingham Health Profile. These findings imply that socioeconomic differences in prevalence of health problems are not only attributable to differences in incidence of diseases by socioeconomic status, but also to a differential course of existing health problems. Implications for health care delivery are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Pain
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires