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Self-perceived health among Eastern European immigrants over 50 living in Western Europe

Abstract

Objectives

This paper examines whether Eastern European immigrants aged 50 and over living in Northern and Western Europe face a health disadvantage in terms of self-perceived health, with respect to the native-born. We also examined health changes over time (2004–2006–2010) through the probabilities of transition among self-perceived health states, and how they vary according to nativity status and age group.

Methods

Data were obtained from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Logistic regressions and probabilities of transition were used.

Results

Results emphasise the health disadvantage of Eastern European immigrants living in Germany, France and  Sweden with respect to the native-born, even after controlling for socio-economic status. Probabilities of transition also evidenced that people born in Eastern Europe were more likely to experience worsening health and less likely to recover from sickness.

Conclusions

This paper suggests that health inequalities do not affect immigrant groups in equal measure and confirm the poorer and more steeply deteriorating health status of Eastern European immigrants.

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Acknowledgments

This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28th 2013 and SHARE wave 1 and 2 release 2.5.0, as of May 24th 2011. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions). We thank the two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on earlier draft of this paper.

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Correspondence to D. Lanari.

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Lanari, D., Bussini, O. & Minelli, L. Self-perceived health among Eastern European immigrants over 50 living in Western Europe. Int J Public Health 60, 21–31 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-014-0629-8

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Keywords

  • Self-perceived health
  • Eastern European immigrants
  • Europe
  • SHARE
  • Probabilities of transition