Socioeconomic inequalities in homicide mortality: a population-based comparative study of 12 European countries

A Stickley, M Leinsalu, Anton Kunst, M Bopp, BH Strand, P (Pekka) Martikainen, O Lundberg, K Kovacs, B Artnik, R Kalediene, J Rychtarikova, B Wojtyniak, Johan Mackenbach

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Recent research has suggested that violent mortality may be socially patterned and a potentially important source of health inequalities within and between countries. Against this background the current study assessed socioeconomic inequalities in homicide mortality across Europe. To do this, longitudinal and cross-sectional data were obtained from mortality registers and population censuses in 12 European countries. Educational level was used to indicate socioeconomic position. Age-standardized mortality rates were calculated for post, upper and lower secondary or less educational groups. The magnitude of inequalities was assessed using the relative and slope index of inequality. The analysis focused on the 35-64 age group. Educational inequalities in homicide mortality were present in all countries. Absolute inequalities in homicide mortality were larger in the eastern part of Europe and in Finland, consistent with their higher overall homicide rates. They contributed 2.5 % at most (in Estonia) to the inequalities in total mortality. Relative inequalities were high in the northern and eastern part of Europe, but were low in Belgium, Switzerland and Slovenia. Patterns were less consistent among women. Socioeconomic inequalities in homicide are thus a universal phenomenon in Europe. Wide-ranging social and inter-sectoral health policies are now needed to address the risk of violent victimization that target both potential offenders and victims.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)877-884
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-02-65-02

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