Dying younger in Scotland: Trends in mortality and deprivation relative to England and Wales, 1981–2011

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Schofield, Lauren ; Walsh, David ; Munoz-Arroyo, Rosalia ; McCartney, Gerry ; Buchanan, Duncan ; Lawder, Richard ; Armstrong, Matthew ; Dundas, Ruth ; Leyland, Alastair H. (2016)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Health & Place, volume 40, pages 106-115 (issn: 1353-8292)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2016.05.007
  • Subject: Geography, Planning and Development | Health(social science) | Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Given previous evidence that not all Scotland’s higher mortality compared to England & Wales (E&W) can be explained by deprivation, the aim was to enhance understanding of this excess by analysing changes in deprivation and mortality in Scotland and E&W between 1981 and 2011. Mortality was compared by means of direct standardisation and log-linear Poisson regression models, adjusting for age, sex and deprivation. Different measures of deprivation were employed, calculated at different spatial scales. Results show that Scotland became less deprived compared to E&W between 1981 and 2011. However, the Scottish excess (the difference in mortality rates relative to E&W after adjustment for deprivation) increased from 4% higher (c.1981) to 10% higher in 2010-12. The latter figure equates to c. 5,000 extra deaths per year. The increase was driven by higher mortality from cancer, suicide, alcohol related causes and drugs-related poisonings. The size and increase in Scottish excess mortality are major concerns. Investigations into its underlying causes continue, the findings of which will be relevant to other populations, given that similar excesses have been observed elsewhere in Britain.
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