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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1127; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101127

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health and Perceived Unmet Needs for Healthcare among the Elderly in Germany

1
Division of Social Determinants of Health, Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring, Robert Koch Institute, General-Pape-Straße 62–66, 12101 Berlin, Germany
2
Division of Health Reporting, Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring, Robert Koch Institute, General-Pape-Straße 62-66, 12101 Berlin, Germany
3
Institute of Medical Sociology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Magdeburger Straße 8, 06112 Halle, Germany
4
Division of Physical Health, Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring, Robert Koch Institute, General-Pape-Straße 62-66, 12101 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ingrid Darmann-Finck, Heinz Rothgang and Hajo Zeeb
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 18 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 26 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Key Issues in Current Health Research: Ageing–Health–Equity)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1377 KB, uploaded 26 September 2017]   |  

Abstract

Research into health inequalities in the elderly population of Germany is relatively scarce. This study examines socioeconomic inequalities in health and perceived unmet needs for healthcare and explores the dynamics of health inequalities with age among elderly people in Germany. Data were derived from the Robert Koch Institute’s cross-sectional German Health Update study. The sample was restricted to participants aged 50–85 years (n = 11,811). Socioeconomic status (SES) was measured based on education, (former) occupation, and income. Odds ratios and prevalence differences were estimated using logistic regression and linear probability models, respectively. Our results show that self-reported health problems were more prevalent among men and women with lower SES. The extent of SES-related health inequalities decreased at older ages, predominantly among men. Although the prevalence of perceived unmet needs for healthcare was low overall, low SES was associated with higher perceptions of unmet needs in both sexes and for several kinds of health services. In conclusion, socioeconomic inequalities in health exist in a late working age and early retirement but may narrow at older ages, particularly among men. Socially disadvantaged elderly people perceive greater barriers to accessing healthcare services than those who are better off. View Full-Text
Keywords: socioeconomic position; health inequalities; social determinants; health disparities; unmet needs; access to health services; healthy ageing socioeconomic position; health inequalities; social determinants; health disparities; unmet needs; access to health services; healthy ageing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hoebel, J.; Rommel, A.; Schröder, S.L.; Fuchs, J.; Nowossadeck, E.; Lampert, T. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Health and Perceived Unmet Needs for Healthcare among the Elderly in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1127.

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