Sociodemographic factors and mortality among Finnish women 1981-5
The study examines women's mortality according to age and a wide range of socioeconomic indicators, economic activity, marital status, motherhood and children's characteristics. The purpose of this study has been to find better empirical understanding of women's socioeconomic mortality differentials and to show how female mortality varies in the face of conflicting demands of employment, marriage and motherhood. All deaths among 35-64-year-old Finnish women in the period 1981-5 were analysed on the basis of data in which census records were combined with death registration. The empirical data analysis was carried out by means of Poisson regression models. Socioeconomic mortality differentials among 35-64-year-old Finnish women exist for all groups of causes of death analysed in this study. For most diseases the relationship between mortality and socioeconomic status was positive: mortality was higher among women from lower socioeconomic statuses. Mortality differentials were relatively small for other cancers than breast cancer, but large for causes related to circulatory diseases and 'other diseases'. Women from lower socioeconomic statuses had lower breast cancer mortality than other women. For married women mortality differentials according to husband's educational and occupational characteristics were, for most causes of death, comparable to those based on women's own characteristics. Similar results were obtained for men. Socioeconomic mortality differentials were similar in all sub-groups defined by parental status, economic activity and marital status with the exception of single women who had very large differentials for circulatory diseases and 'other diseases'. Socioeconomic mortality differentials were also similar in categories defined by other socioeconomic variables. The study has also shown that marital status, motherhood and economic activity are strongly related to mortality from all causes of death. These relationships can to a large extent be understood in terms of main effects. Only lone mothers with more than one child have higher mortality than expected on the basis of the main effects model; high mortality is mainly attributable to circulatory diseases and accidents and violence. A detailed discussion of the theoretical relevance of these results is included in the thesis.