Inequalities in mortality by social class measured at 3 stages of the lifecourse

Am J Public Health. 1998 Mar;88(3):471-4. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.3.471.


Objectives: This study examined how social class, measured at 3 staged of life, contributes to mortality risk.

Methods: A cohort of employed Scottish men (n = 5567) provided their fathers' occupation and their own first and current occupations, from which social class in childhood, at labor-market entry, and at screening (1970 to 1973) was determined. Relative rates of mortality and relative indices of inequality were calculated from 21 years of follow-up.

Results: Mortality risk was similar at each stage of life, with men in the higher social classes having the lowest risk. Social class at screening produced the greatest relative indices of inequality.

Conclusions: The widening of inequalities in mortality in adulthood suggests the importance of the accumulation of poor socioeconomic circumstances throughout life.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupations
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Social Class*