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Socioeconomic differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in 16 European countries


Kulhánová, Ivana; Menvielle, Gwenn; Bopp, Matthias; Borrell, Carme; Deboosere, Patrick; Eikemo, Terje A; Hoffmann, Rasmus; Leinsalu, Mall; Martikainen, Pekka; Regidor, Enrique; Rodríguez-Sanz, Maica; Rychtaříková, Jitka; Wojtyniak, Bogdan; Mackenbach, Johan P (2014). Socioeconomic differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in 16 European countries. BMC Public Health, 14:1295.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cause-of-death data linked to information on socioeconomic position form one of the most important sources of information about health inequalities in many countries. The proportion of deaths from ill-defined conditions is one of the indicators of the quality of cause-of-death data. We investigated educational differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in official mortality statistics.
METHODS: Using age-standardized mortality rates from 16 European countries, we calculated the proportion of all deaths in each educational group that were classified as due to "Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions". We tested if this proportion differed across educational groups using Chi-square tests.
RESULTS: The proportion of ill-defined causes of death was lower than 6.5% among men and 4.5% among women in all European countries, without any clear geographical pattern. This proportion statistically significantly differed by educational groups in several countries with in most cases a higher proportion among less than secondary educated people compared with tertiary educated people.
CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence for educational differences in the distribution of ill-defined causes of death. However, the differences between educational groups were small suggesting that socioeconomic inequalities in cause-specific mortality in Europe are not likely to be biased.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Cause-of-death data linked to information on socioeconomic position form one of the most important sources of information about health inequalities in many countries. The proportion of deaths from ill-defined conditions is one of the indicators of the quality of cause-of-death data. We investigated educational differences in the use of ill-defined causes of death in official mortality statistics.
METHODS: Using age-standardized mortality rates from 16 European countries, we calculated the proportion of all deaths in each educational group that were classified as due to "Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions". We tested if this proportion differed across educational groups using Chi-square tests.
RESULTS: The proportion of ill-defined causes of death was lower than 6.5% among men and 4.5% among women in all European countries, without any clear geographical pattern. This proportion statistically significantly differed by educational groups in several countries with in most cases a higher proportion among less than secondary educated people compared with tertiary educated people.
CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence for educational differences in the distribution of ill-defined causes of death. However, the differences between educational groups were small suggesting that socioeconomic inequalities in cause-specific mortality in Europe are not likely to be biased.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:31 Dec 2014 08:26
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 09:42
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-2458
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1295
PubMed ID:25518912

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