Title: Are rich people or poor people more likely to be ill? Lay perceptions, by social class and neighborhood, of inequalities in health
Authors: Sally Macintyre, Laura Mckay, Anne Ellaway,
Macintyre, S., McKay, L., & Ellaway, A. (2005). Are rich people or poor people more likely to be ill? Lay perceptions, by social class and neighborhood, of inequalities in health. Social Science & Medicine, 60(2), 313-317.
This study compares how people in lower socioeconomic status (SES) believe how healthy they are, in contrast to, how people in high SES believe how healthy the lower SES are. This study asked direct questions, and used an area where the difference between the high and low SES was easily distinguishable. Even though the differences were clear between the two areas, neither one was extremely rich or extremely poor. The people surveyed in this research were from Glasgow, Scotland, and were from the ages 25, 45, and 65 years old. The people in each category were asked if those in lower SES were more likely to develop cancer, heart disease, mental illness, have accidents, be fitter, and to live longer in general. Each person was to choose more likely, less likely, or equally as likely. The most common answer was that the rich and poor were equally as likely to develop health problems. However, it was also a common theme to answer that the rich were more likely to be fitter and to live longer. In general, the poor were viewed to have a greater chance to develop heart disease, cancer, and mental illnesses. Although, people from a lower SES were less likely to admit that the poor would probably develop health problems easier than the rich. When the model looked at the how each sex answered, it showed that women were less likely to say that poor people were more likely to have accidents, develop diseases and to live longer. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to say that poor people were more likely to have health problems.
When looking at the how each age responded, it revealed that individuals in the 45 and 65 year age categories, were more likely to say that the poor are at a higher risk of having accidents compared to those in the 25 year age category. People in the 45 year category were much more likely than the other two, to say that the poor were more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, and mental illnesses. The 65 year olds in particular, were the least probable to say that the poor had a higher risk of heart disease than the rich.
The researchers involved with this study claim that they need to conduct more research sue to the limitations of this study. Some of the limitations include a small sample size, one suit of questions, and three small age groups. In addition, they couldn’t follow up on the people that they surveyed, and find out why they answered the way that they did.