Is socioeconomic disparity in disability improving among Korean elders?

Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, United States.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.56). 07/2010; 71(2):282-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.03.037
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether the socioeconomic disparity in disability status in Korea improved during the decade between 1994 and 2004. Information was obtained from the National Survey of Elders' Life and Welfare Desires in 1994, 1998, and 2004. Age-adjusted disability rates by educational level and income were calculated separately for women and men. Prevalence ratios for disability by education and income were estimated using log-binomial regression. The relative index of inequality (RII) was calculated controlling for age. We also assessed trends in the disability rate as well as the RII p-trend by year. We found that disability rates declined during the decade from 1994 to 2004 among Koreans aged 65 years old or older. Older persons with less education and income exhibited greater decline in their disability than did those with higher socioeconomic status. Although the absolute disparity in disability decreased during the studied decade, the relative disparity for any disability remained stable in terms of both education and income. Despite rapid decreases in socioeconomic inequality among older adults with severe disabilities, older adults with lower socioeconomic status have remained more vulnerable to milder forms of disability during recent years.

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