Family Affluence Scale, other socioeconomic position indicators, and self-rated health among South Korean adolescents: findings from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS)
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Previous mixed findings regarding socioeconomic differentials among adolescents can be partly attributed to problems in measuring socioeconomic position (SEP) among adolescents. Accordingly, the Family Affluence Scale (FAS) was developed and used in European countries, where it yielded good predictions of socioeconomic differentials in health. However, no prior study has examined whether this new measure for SEP among adolescents is applicable outside Europe.
The study subjects comprised 71,404 middle and high school students (37,204 boys and 34,200 girls) selected through stratified random cluster sampling of 400 middle schools and 400 high schools in Korea. The predictor variables included the FAS, parental education levels, self-rated school achievement, perceived household economic status, and cohabitation with parents. The outcome variable was self-rated health (SRH); age-adjusted odds ratios were calculated with SRH as an outcome variable.
About 10% of the adolescents studied reported “poor” SRH. The correlation coefficients between each component of the FAS were modest (0.11–0.24). Lower FAS was related to a lower level in other SEP indicators and living without parents. All SEP indicators showed a positive relationship between lower SEP and worse SRH for both genders, with gradients being greater among boys than girls. The higher risk of poor SRH being reported by adolescents with low FAS was significantly decreased by adjustment for perceived household economic status.
Significant differentials in SRH by many SEP indicators were found among Korean adolescents. The FAS garnered a high completion rate and appeared useful as a measure of SEP for studying adolescents outside of Europe.