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The Ethno-linguistic Community and Premature Death: a Register-Based Study of Working-Aged Men in Finland

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Abstract

One of the most striking features of premature death in Finland is the ethno-linguistic mortality gradient in working-aged men. Finnish speakers have a notably higher mortality risk than Swedish speakers. The underlying reasons are not fully clear, but one suggested explanation has been that the level of social integration is lower in the Finnish-speaking community than that in the Swedish-speaking one, as people in the former are geographically less rooted at the local level. In this paper, we derive a proxy for the influence of the ethno-linguistic community as a contextual factor on the Finnish-Swedish mortality gradient. The strategy is based on a unique setup that makes it possible to identify people not only by their ethno-linguistic background and ethno-linguistic affiliation, but we indirectly know also in which community a person has been raised. Results of multivariate regressions provide poor support for this contextual hypothesis, however, and rather suggest that some latent individual characteristics might be important, hence illuminating the complexity behind the excess mortality of Finnish speakers.

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Conflict of Interest

Jan Saarela and Fjalar Finnäs declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Saarela, J., Finnäs, F. The Ethno-linguistic Community and Premature Death: a Register-Based Study of Working-Aged Men in Finland. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 3, 373–380 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-015-0163-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-015-0163-2

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