Socioeconomic status, psychosocial health and health behaviours among Hungarian adolescents

Bettina F. Piko, Kevin M. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

87 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While socioeconomic differences in health, morbidity, and disability are highest among middle-aged persons, there is a certain level of 'equalization' during adolescence and young adulthood. Despite this equalization, however, there still are differences in psychosocial variables or health-related behaviours, often very subtle and sometimes difficult to measure. Methods: Using data (n = 1114) on high school students (aged between 14 and 21 years) from the Southern Plain Region, Hungary, the present study looks at the role of multiple SES indicators (objective and subjective; occupation and education; family structure) in adolescents' psychosocial health (self-perceived health, psychosomatic, and depressive symptomatology) and health behaviour (substance use and sports activity). Results: Based on the results of multivariate logistic regression analyses, findings suggest the following: (i) SES self-assessment proved to be a significant predictor of adolescents' psychosocial health and health behaviours; (ii) family structure (that is, living in a non-intact family) also significantly influenced adolescents' psychosocial health and health behaviours; (iii) parents' employment status and schooling had a limited influence on their children's health outcomes; (iv) in a word, SES gradients in adolescents' psychosocial health and health behaviour were inconsistent and sometimes irregular (that is, inverse). The subjective SES measurement plays an important role (positive association), whereas certain types of parents' inactive status (in terms of labour market, that is, unemployment or retirement) seem to act in a predictable way (negative association). Conclusions: Our results indicate that despite certain level of equalization during adolescence, some important relationships between SES variables and health outcomes may occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of public health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Adolescents
  • Health behaviour
  • Health inequalities
  • Psychosocial health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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