Child Indicators Research

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 291–302

Inequality in Health, Psychosocial Resources and Health Behavior in Early Adolescence: The Influence of Different Indicators of Socioeconomic Position


DOI: 10.1007/s12187-008-9015-5

Cite this article as:
Iversen, A.C. & Holsen, I. Child Ind Res (2008) 1: 291. doi:10.1007/s12187-008-9015-5


The aim of the present paper was to study the relationship between different indicators of socioeconomic position (SEP) and various health domains in young adolescents’ lives. Data stem from two studies carried out in Norway in 2004; a sample of 1,153 5th–7th graders (study 1) and a sample of 654 6th graders (study 2). Indicators of SEP were family affluence, books in home and perceived wealth. Measures of health were health complaints, overall health, and life satisfaction (study 1), measures of psychosocial resources were social competence and self-esteem (study 1), and measures of health behaviours were consumption of fruits and vegetables and physical activity (study 2). Results from study 1 showed that all three SEP-indicators were significantly associated with overall health, life- satisfaction and social competence, with perceived wealth showing the strongest relationship. Health complaints and self-esteem were only associated with perceived wealth. Results from study 2 showed that only books in home was significantly associated with all three health behaviours, while the two other indicators were not. Adolescents with higher SEP report better health, more psychosocial resources and higher level of health behaviour than adolescents with lower SEP. The results indicate that the SEP indicators differ regarding their relevance to the various outcomes. Several aspects of SEP should be included in future research and indicators suitable for adolescents needs to be further developed.


Socio-economic differencesAdolescenceHealthPsychosocial resourcesHealth behaviourBooksFamily wealthCultural capitalIndicatorsSEP

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child Protection Research Unit, UNIFOB-HealthUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Research Center for Health Promotion, Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway