Explaining educational inequalities in adolescent life satisfaction: do health behaviour and gender matter?
- First Online:
There is little evidence on the explanation of health inequalities based on a gender sensitive perspective. The aim was to investigate to what extent health behaviours mediate the association between educational inequalities and life satisfaction of boys and girls.
Data were derived from the German part of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study 2010 (n = 5,005). Logistic regression models were conducted to investigate educational inequalities in life satisfaction among 11- to 15-year-old students and the relative impact of health behaviour in explaining these inequalities.
Educational inequalities in life satisfaction were more pronounced in boys than in girls from lower educational tracks (OR 2.82, 95 % CI 1.97–4.05 and OR 2.30, 95 % CI 1.68–3.14). For adolescents belonging to the lowest educational track, behavioural factors contributed to 18 % (boys) and 39 % (girls) in the explanation of educational inequalities in life satisfaction.
The relationship between educational track and life satisfaction is substantially mediated by health-related behaviours. To tackle inequalities in adolescent health, behavioural factors should be targeted at adolescents from lower educational tracks, with special focus on gender differences.
KeywordsHealth behaviour HBSC Adolescent health Social inequality Gender
- Bartley M (2004) Health inequality. An introduction to theories, concepts and methods. Polity Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Cantril H (1966) The pattern of human concerns. Rutgers University Press, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
- Currie C et al (2012) Social determinants of health and well-being among young people. Health behaviour in school-aged children (HBSC) study: international report from the 2009/2010 survey, vol vol 6. WHO Regional Office for Europe, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Currie C, Nic Gabhainn S, Godeau E, Roberts C (2008) Inequalities in young people’s health. HBSC international report from the 2005/2006 survey. WHO, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
- Sen G, Östlin P, George A, WHO (2007) Unequal, unfair, ineffective and inefficient: gender inequity in health: why it exists and how we can change it. Final report to the WHO commission on social determinants of health. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/resources/csdh_media/wgekn_final_report_07.pdf. Accessed 06 Dec 2013
- Skalicka V, van Lenthe F, Bambra C, Krokstad S, Mackenbach J (2009) Material, psychosocial, behavioural and biomedical factors in the explanation of relative socio-economic inequalities in mortality: evidence from the HUNT study. Int J Public Health 38(5):1272–1284Google Scholar
- Stronks K, van de Mheen HD, Looman CWN, Mackenbach JP (1996) Behavioural and structural factors in the explanation of socio-economic inequalities in health: an empirical analysis. Soc Theory Health 18(5):653–674Google Scholar
- Torsheim T, Leversen I, Samdal O (2007) Adolescent health inequality: are behavioural factors important? Nor J Epidemiol 17(1):79–86Google Scholar
- WHO (2011) Gender mainstreaming in WHO: where are we now? Report of the baseline assessment of the WHO gender strategy. In: WHO (ed). http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789241500135_eng.pdf. Accessed 09 Dec 2013