Social position affects hospital admission rate

15/05/2007 15:00

The social position of persons who were in the first year of secondary education in 1989 and were monitored until 2005 was related to hospital admission later in life. The parents´ social position appears to be relevant, intelligence is irrelevant.

Risk of hospital admission by social position

Risk of hospital admission by social position

Individual social position most important factor

The social position of these former pupils at the moment they entered the labour market appeared to be of paramount importance for the risk of being admitted to hospital. People stuck at the bottom of the social ladder are found to run a 60 percent higher risk than people high up in the social hierarchy.
Persons with parents in low social positions ran a 20 percent higher risk of being admitted to hospital than pupils from a high social background.

There appeared to be no link between intelligence and future hospital admission.

Risk of hospital admission due to accidents

Risk of hospital admission due to accidents

Risk of accidents far higher for persons in low social positions

Approximately one in ten admissions were caused by accidents. The social position at the moment the transition from school to labour market was made appeared to be decisive; the risk for people in a low social position was 3.5 times as high as for people in high positions. Social background and intelligence were irrelevant for hospitalisation following accidents.

Risk of hospital admission due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth

Risk of hospital admission due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth

Higher risk during pregnancy and childbirth

Slightly over a quarter of hospital admissions were related to complications occurring during pregnancy and childbirth. In these cases, social position was also a decisive factor. The risk of being hospitalised for complications related to pregnancy and childbirth was more than 60 percent higher for women from low social strata than for women in top positions.

No link proven between IQ and hospital admission

Intelligence is not related to hospital admission. Indications emerging from surveys conducted elsewhere claiming that people with high IQs have a reduced risk of health damage are not corroborated by any hard evidence.

Ferdy Otten, Tanja Traag, Hans Bosma (Universiteit Maastricht)