Effects of area deprivation on health risks and outcomes: A multilevel, cross-sectional, Australian population study

Robert J. Adams, Natasha Howard, Graeme Tucker, Sarah Appleton, Anne W. Taylor, Catherine Chittleborough, Tiffany Gill, Richard E. Ruffin, David H. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Our aim was to examine the effect of local area socio-economic disadvantage after accounting for individual socio-economic status (SES), and to determine if these differ between various health and risk factor variables. Methods: The North West Adelaide Health Study (NWAHS) is a biomedical representative population study of adults. The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD), produced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census data at the level of Collector Districts (200 dwellings) was used as an indicator of local area disadvantage. Multi-level modeling techniques examined the effects of IRSD level on a variety of health outcomes and risk factors, after accounting for individual socio-economic factors. Results: Significant, independent associations were seen between IRSD and obesity, smoking, and health-related quality of life, with 5 % to 7.2 % of the variance located at the neighborhood level. No independent associations were seen between IRSD and estimated cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes, physical activity, or at-risk alcohol use. Conclusions: Aggregated area-level characteristics make modest, but significant independent contributions to smoking, obesity and quality of life, but not for other health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Health-related quality of life
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Obesity
  • Social determinants of health
  • Socio-economic disadvantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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