Explaining socioeconomic inequalities in self-reported health outcomes: The mediating role of perceived life stress, financial self-reliance, psychological capital, and time perspective orientations

Karen Schelleman-Offermans*, Karlijn Massar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The main aim of the current study was to investigate what role perceived life stress, psychological capital (PsyCap), financial self-reliance and time perspective orientations play in explaining socioeconomic health inequalities, specifically self-perceived health and self-reported physical health conditions.

METHODS: Individuals (total n = 600) aged 16+ years from a general Dutch population sample (LISS panel) completed an online questionnaire measuring three different SEP indicators (highest achieved educational level, personal monthly disposable income and being in paid employment), perceived life stress, PsyCap, financial self-reliance, time perspective, self-perceived health, and self-reported physical health conditions. Structural equation modelling using a cross-sectional design was used to test the mediation paths from SEP indicators to self-perceived health and self-reported physical health conditions through perceived life stress, PsyCap, financial self-reliance and time perspective orientations.

RESULTS: Highest achieved educational level and being in paid employment showed to play a role in the social stratification within self-reported and self-perceived health outcomes, whereas this was not found for personal monthly disposable income. The association between a lower highest achieved educational level and lower self-perceived health was mediated by lower PsyCap and higher perceived life stress levels. The association between a lower highest achieved educational level and higher levels of self-reported physical health conditions was mediated by less financial self-reliance and higher perceived life stress levels. Although no mediating role was found for time perspective orientations in the association between the measured SEP indicators and health outcomes, negative time perspective orientations were associated with either self-perceived health or self-reported physical health conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: reserves (PsyCap and financial self-reliance) and perceived life stress seem to play a larger role in explaining the health gradient in achieved educational level than time perspective orientations. Prevention efforts trying to reduce the SEP-health gradient should focus on a) increasing reserves and lowering perceived life stress levels for individuals with a low achieved educational level, and b) reducing unemployment and narrowing opportunity gaps in education for people with a low SEP.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0243730
Number of pages21
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • FUTURE CONSEQUENCES
  • SMOKING
  • INTERVENTION
  • ASSOCIATION
  • RESOURCES
  • MORTALITY
  • BELIEFS
  • WOMEN

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