Social mobility, marital status, and mortality risk in an adult life course perspective: the Malmö Preventive Project.Scand J Public Health. 2005; 33(6):412-23.SJ
Adverse social factors predict increased mortality. This study aimed to assess the influence of social class and marital status on mortality, adding an adult life course perspective.
In total, 32,907 males and 20,204 females were evaluated based on census data in Malmö, Sweden. Of these subjects, 22,444 males and 10,902 females also took part in health screening. The main outcomes were all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates in subgroups based on social class and marital status, either measured once or repeatedly in adult life. Results were based on a total of 522,807 years of follow-up in men (5,761 deaths) and 239,815 in women (1,354 deaths).
Total and cardiovascular mortality were significantly higher in manual male employees with age-adjusted risk ratios (RR) of 1.7 (95% CI 1.5-1.9) and 1.6 (1.3-2.0) in skilled manual workers, and 2.0 (1.7-2.2) and 1.9 (1.6-2.3) in unskilled manual workers, compared with high-level non-manual employees. The differences remained after adjustment for baseline risk factors and prevalent cardiovascular disease, and were similar for women. Increased mortality risk was also documented for subjects who were divorced or unmarried (adjusted for social class), as well as being downward socially mobile or in a permanent low social class (manual) position.
Social class based on occupation, either measured once or repeatedly in adult life, is associated with marked differences in mortality risk in middle-aged subjects. People who remain married/cohabiting or remarry are at lower risk of early death than people who remain unmarried or divorced.