Area deprivation and trends in inequalities in self-rated health in Spain, 1987—2001

Julia Bolívar-Muñoz, Silvia Toro-Cárdenas, Ricardo Ocaña-Riola, Joan Benach-Rovira, Vicente Navarro-López, Antonio Daponte-Codina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Aims: This study examined the impact that individual social position and municipal area deprivation levels had on trends in inequalities in self-rated health in Spain, between 1987 and 2001. Methods: The study was based on cross-sectional data of the National Health Surveys of Spain for the years 1987, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 2001 (n=84,567). The indicators used were educational level and occupational class, and deprivation level as the indicator of municipal areas. Multilevel logistic regression models were made, with individuals nested into municipal areas. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated. To evaluate trends, the relative index of inequality was calculated. Results: At the individual level, the likelihood of less-than-good health between those with no formal education as compared to those with graduate-level education increased from OR=2.66 (95% CI: 2.06—3.38) in 1987 to OR=3.62 (95% CI: 2.95—4.63) in 2001 among women. The values for men were OR=2.27 (95% CI: 1.89—2.72) and OR=2.94 (95% CI: 2.36—3.68) respectively. Living in areas with the highest deprivation levels as compared to the lowest systematically increased the likelihood of less-than-good health. The likelihood of reporting less-than-good health among women with no formal education as compared to women with graduate-level education in municipal areas with the highest deprivation levels increased from OR=3.61 (95% CI: 2.39—5.45) in 1987 to 4.85 (95% CI: 3.06—7.69) in 2001. Among men, the corresponding magnitudes were OR=2.07 (95% CI: 1.39—3.08) and OR=4.16 (95% CI: 2.52—6.89). Conclusions: Inequalities in self-rated health increased in Spain in this period. These inequalities may be explained by the social conditions existing throughout the period of reference, and the pattern varies according to gender, municipal area deprivation levels, and the individual indicator of social position used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Deprivation
  • Spain
  • inequalities
  • multilevel analysis
  • self-rated health
  • trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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