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This article examines the issue of social inequality in terms of health, while citing the main results of an empirical study on the matter, which have been attained by means of analyzing data from the European social survey (ESS) for a few dozen countries, including Russia, together with statistical information on the state of their economy and welfare, utilizing a two-level linear and logistic modeling method. In different parts of Europe indexes of general wellbeing and the risk of developing depression differ quite drastically – in Russia, as is the case with most other relatively underdeveloped nations, the population’s health is markedly worse than in the most of the highly developed social democracies. These indexes significantly differ within the country as well – among people who occupy unequal positions within demographical and social structures. A natural discrepancy in health between elder and younger age groups is especially pronounced in underdeveloped countries, while in nations with a high level of prosperity and state social guarantees these age-related discrepancies are more or less evened out. Social capital and an individual’s mental strength play a crucial role in maintaining good health. Possessing psychosocial resources is beneficial to the health of those belonging to any given social stratum. However, in developed European countries this is mostly beneficial to the more vulnerable groups of lower social status. In developed European countries the health of said groups is negatively affected in no small part due to them experiencing relative deprivation, and the stress of social comparison to the prosperous majority. So this is not only due to a shortage of material resources or their limited access to high-quality medical services, as is the case in Russia and in underdeveloped European states. In well developed countries individual reserves and social bonds are especially important for the lower strata, in order for them to successfully overcome the negative impact of such strain on their health.
inequalities in health, demographic and social structure, social capital, psychological resources, European countries and Russia, two-level modeling.
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