Psychological Resources, Material Deprivation, and Health in Europe: Direct Effects and Mediation of Educational Inequalities

The article deals with the problem of mediation of social structural inequalities in health. According to theoretical explanations that require further empirical justification, inequalities in education — deterioration of health with its decline — may be associated with material deprivation. With a low educational status, a person does not have enough material resources necessary for high-quality nutrition, recreation and treatment. These inequalities may also arise due to the fact that poorly educated people lack the psychological reserves necessary for overcoming life's difficulties. Analysis of European Social Survey data (ESS 2012) for 27 countries, as well as the contextual factor of social protection expenditure was carried out using statistical methods of two-level modeling and regression models for mediation effects (HLM, MLmed macro, Process macro). Health inequalities in education are clearly manifest in any country. It was established that, along with education, material deprivations and especially personal resources play a significant role in differentiating the well-being of people, exerting an independent impact on it. According to the modeling results, in many countries, including the most developed, material deprivations that people with low levels of education suffer from, act as a mediator, partly clarifying the reasons for differences in health among people with different education. One of the lines of psychological mediation is also connected with material conditions — through two intermediaries, the first of which is deprivation, and the second is psychological qualities. At the same time, even when controlling all of these mediating effects, personal characteristics are an important mediator of SES inequalities, but not all over Europe, but only in countries with a relatively weak social state. In conclusion, a brief description of health inequalities and mediating effects in Russia is given.


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