Distribution of Childhood Health Indices: Associations with Moves along the "Property Ladder"

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Childhood deprivation is a major risk to public health. Poor health in the early years accumulates and is expressed in adult health inequalities. The importance of social mobility - moves into and out of poverty or, indeed, change in relative affluence - for child wellbeing is less well understood. Home ownership and house value may serve as a useful measure of relative affluence and deprivation.
Analysis of the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study dataset focused on cohort members aged 18 and under at the 2001 census and their families. Using housing tenure and house value reported in 2001 and 2011, moves along the “housing ladder” over ten years were identified. Outcome measures were physical disability and mental health status as reported in 2011. Logistic regression models tested if health outcomes varied by upward and downward changes in house value.
After controlling for variations in age, sex, general health and social class, mental health is worse among those who moved to a lower value house. Compared to ‘no change’, those moving from the upper quintile of house value into social renting accommodation were almost six times more likely to report poor mental health (OR 5.90 95% CI 4.52, 7.70). Conversely, those experiencing the greatest upward movement were half as likely to report poor mental health (OR 0.46 95% CI 0.31, 0.68). There were smaller associations between physical health and downward (OR 2.66 95% CI 2.16, 3.27), and upward (OR 0.75 95% CI 0.61, 0.92) moves.
Poor mental health is more strongly associated with declines in living standards than with improvements. The gradient appears at multiple points along this proxy affluence-deprivation spectrum, not only at the extremes. Further research should explore whether circumstances surrounding moves, or change in social position explains the differential association between the health correlates of upward versus downward mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015
EventSociety for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies Conference 2015 - Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 19 Oct 2015 → …


ConferenceSociety for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies Conference 2015
Period19/10/2015 → …


  • Health Inequalities


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