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Decomposing socioeconomic inequalities in self assessed health in Turkey

Kaan Sözmen1*, Hakan Baydur2, Hatice Simsek3 and Belgin Ünal3

Author Affiliations

1 Narlidere Community Health Center, Ministry of Health of Turkey, Ilıca Mah.Güvendik Sk. No:5, Izmir, Narlıdere, 35320, Turkey

2 Vocational School of Health Services, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey

3 Department of Public Health, Dokuz Eylul University Faculty of Medicine, Izmir, Turkey

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International Journal for Equity in Health 2012, 11:73  doi:10.1186/1475-9276-11-73

Published: 5 December 2012



This study aimed to measure socioeconomic inequalities in Self Assessed Health (SAH) and evaluate the determinants of such inequalities in terms of their contributions amongst the Turkish population.


We used data from the Turkish part of World Health Survey 2003 with 10,287 respondents over 18 years old. Concentration index (CI) of SAH was calculated as a measure of socioeconomic inequalities in health, and contributions of each determinant to inequality were evaluated using a decomposition method.


In total 952 participants (9.3%) rated their health status as either bad or very bad. The CI for SAH was −0.15, suggesting that suboptimal SAH was reported more by those categorised as poor. The multiple logistic regression results indicated that having secondary, primary or less than primary school education, not being married and being in the lowest wealth quintile, significantly increased the risk of having poor SAH. The largest contributions to inequality were attributed to education level (70.7%), household economic status (9.7%) and geographical area lived in (8.4%).


The findings indicate that socioeconomic inequalities measured by SAH are apparent amongst the Turkish population. Education and household wealth were the greatest contributing factors to SAH inequality. These inequalities need to be explicitly addressed and vulnerable subgroups should be targeted to reduce the socioeconomic disparities.

Self assessed health; Socioeconomic inequality; Decomposition method; Turkey