Socioeconomic status and health among older adults in Thailand: An examination using multiple indicators
Social Science and Medicine 52(8): 1297-1311
Publication date: 2001
A survey of 14,000 Thais, 50 and older, is utilized to test hypotheses about the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and health previously derived through observation of Western populations. Central among hypotheses is the notion that an inverse association can be uniformly detected across a matrix of SES indicators and health outcomes. Indicators of SES in this study include the traditional education, occupation and income measures, and a measure of household possessions. This later indicator may be particularly useful in a non-Western setting such as Thailand. Health outcomes were derived in order to represent a subjective, a social, and a medical conceptualization of health and included measures for self-assessed health, functional disorders and chronic health conditions. All health indicators were dichotomously coded as existence or non-existence. Also tested are associations throughout ordered categories of SES. Results generally support hypotheses. Unadjusted for other SES covariates, all four indicators of status strongly related to two of the three health measures, when controlling for other important covariates. When adjusted for each other, a number of the associations remained strong. There were also several notable exceptions. Little association existed between SES and chronic health disorders. The results may serve to highlight the distinct social environment acting upon the association.