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Social-class indicators differentially predict engagement in prevention vs. detection behaviours

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Objective: Few systematic studies have examined the contexts in which social-class variables will predict engagement in health-relevant behaviours. The current research examined whether the impact of social-class on health behaviours depends upon how social-class is assessed and the category of health behaviour under consideration.

Method: Our sample was drawn from the Health Information National Trends Survey in 2012 (N = 3959). Participants reported their income and education as well as their engagement in a variety of prevention and detection behaviours.

Results: Consistent with our hypothesised framework, we found that income predicted engagement in a variety of detection behaviours above and beyond education, whereas education predicted engagement in a variety of prevention behaviours above and beyond income.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that income and education operate on health behaviours via different pathways and have implications for public health policy and intervention.
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Keywords: health behaviour; health disparities; prevention and detection; social-class

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2016

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