RESEARCH – January 2008

Socioeconomic differences in self-perceived health in Estonia: European Social Survey 2004


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AIM. To investigate association between socioeconomic status and self-perceived health among adults in Estonia.
METHODS. This study was based on a subsample of the 35–54-year-old adult population (n = 627) of the European Social  Survey conducted in Estonia in 2004. Selfperceived health was rated on a 5-point scale: very good, good, fair, poor and very poor. Socioeconomic status was measured according to the level of education, employment, economic well-being, age, ethnicity, type of residence and marital  status. Logistic regression analysis was applied to assess association between selfperceived health and socioeconomic status.
RESULTS. The present study showed that 49.5% of the respondents rated their health at least as good and 50.5% as less than good. No significant difference was found in self-perceived health between men and women. Women rated their health as very good more frequently than men but as very poor less frequently than men. Overall, the overwhelming majority of the respondents had secondary education, were employed, married or cohabiting, and their nationality was Estonians. Compared to women more men had basic education and fewer had  higher education. Economic well-being was rated as good by over half of the respondents and as poor by almost half of them. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, lower than good self-rated health was associated with lower education, unemployment, lower economic well-being and older age group for both genders. No relationship was found between self-perceived health and marital status, ethnicity, and type of residence.
CONCLUSION. Health policies should be directed towards addressing specific risk groups and fundamental issues of socioeconomic inequality in Estonia.