Author

Karin M. Abel

Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Advisor/Chair:

Christy Glass

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Erin Hofmann

Abstract

My research brings together two areas of sociological inquiry. The first area involves the study of the welfare state and the second the determinants of health status. Drawing on Esping-Andersen's work concerning a particular aspect of the welfare state, decommodification, two questions are of interest. First, are individuals in countries with more decommodifying welfare states less likely to report poor self-perceived health than individuals in countries with less decommodifying welfare states? Second, does decommodification affect the health of various population groups in different ways? Gender and income groups are of interest here. Theoretically, I argue that the welfare state impacts the stratification order, that social inequality is tied to social cohesion, and that social cohesion is linked to health. I draw on sources of both country- and individual- level data, including the comparative welfare Entitlements dataset, the World Values Survey, and the European Values Study, to test hypotheses concerning the link between decommodification and self-perceived health. In general, I hypothesize that higher levels of decommodification will contribute to a decreased likelihood that individuals report poor self-perceived health. Given the miltilevel structure of my research questions and hypotheses, I use multilevel binary logistic regression to assess relationships of interest. My findings indicate that, for all groups, decommodification does not have a statistically significant relationship with self-perceived health. In other words, higher levels of welfare support do not decrease the likelihood that individuals report poor health. To elaborate, for all groups, those who are trusting, as compared to those who are not, are less likely to report poor health. Overall, the data do not support my hypotheses, revealing potential flaws in my theory linking the welfare state and health status. My research, then, has both theoretical and empirical implications.

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Sociology Commons

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