Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.544187
Title: Inequalities in health and happiness in Great Britain
Author: Shen, Jing
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
The PhD thesis investigates the issue of inequalities in health and happiness in Britain. Consisting of three empirical studies and one piece of conceptual modelling, the research undertakes new investigations into health inequalities using longitudinal data. Carried out from a new angle – the life-course perspective, the studies adopt new methods including entropy measures, relative distributions and quantile regression to examine inequalities in the broader sense of health – mental health, psychological wellbeing and the related concept of happiness, in addition to physical health. Robust and reliable measures of inequalities in health should first be established before any investigations of health inequalities being carried out and this research shows that new methods need to be applied in addition to the traditional methods in order to overcome the flaws of the old methods and provide new insights into the issue of health inequalities. The life-course approach reveals that parental income and birth weight play important roles in respondents’ adulthood health inequality in addition to a range of socioeconomic factors, although parental income is only significant in wave 7 whereas birth weight is only significant and has more contribution in wave 4. With the application of the relative distributions method, the empirical study identifies that shape change rather than location change in the self-assessed health (SAH) distribution causes lower average SAH. Extending the analysis of inequalities in physical health to psychological wellbeing, women in England are found to be less happy than men mainly due to polarization occurring in the female population compared to men. Both the relative distributions method and quantile regression have confirmed the effects of some socioeconomic factors on psychological wellbeing and extended to happiness, however, the general trend of the psychological side of health or happiness over time cannot be concluded. Nevertheless, the relative distributions method is shown to perform well in understanding how the psychological health variable is distributed across the entire distribution over time. This research also contributes to a further examination of the relationship between income inequality and health, and the results continue to be mixed, although longstanding illness and Malaise Inventory appear to be more affected by income inequality than SAH and the choice of different indicators of income inequality seems to be important. Furthermore, a conceptual model is established in the thesis to provide a better understanding of the concepts involving health and happiness, which is believed to be the first attempt of its kind in the literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.544187  DOI: Not available
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