Scottish Longitudinal Study
Development & Support Unit

Current Projects

Project Title:

The potential for reduction of health inequalities in Europe: Mortality data from longitudinal studies (Scottish Longitudinal Study)

Project Number:



Johan Mackenbach (Erasmus MC)
Frank Popham (University of St Andrews)
Gwenn Menvielle (Inserm)
Terje Eikemo (Erasmus MC)
Rasmus Hoffman (Erasmus MC)
Mauricio Avendano (Erasmus MC)

Start Date:

Approved on 05-05-2011


The main project aim is to assess the potential for reduction of health inequalities in Europe. We will do so by identifying the determinants and risk factors associated with variations in the magnitude of health inequalities between European countries (including Scotland), and by developing counterfactual scenarios on the basis of methodologies developed by the Global Burden of Disease study. The project will in this way contribute to assessing the potential for reducing health inequalities.

An important part of the project is the collection and analysis of updated data on socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in Europe in all European Union countries with available and comparable data. In Scotland this is for the period post the 2001 census.

The socio-economic gradient in mortality is observed in all European countries. But there is also variation in the magnitude of the gradient as highlighted in previous work by our group (Mackenbach et al., 2008). The present project builds on the most recent Eurothine project ( that included the most comprehensive evaluation of socio-economic variation in mortality and morbidity in Europe to date. In particular it will provide:

  • Updated estimates of the magnitude of socioeconomic inequalities in health in Europe, using data from the 2000s – the Eurothine project used data from the 1990s
  • Estimates of the extent to which health inequalities in Europe can realistically be reduced by policies and interventions on socioeconomic determinants as well as on specific risk factors.

To date Scotland has not been included in our European analysis. Given the large socio-economic variations in mortality in Scotland (Leyland et al., 2007) and its poor mortality record relative to other European countries (Leon et al., 2003) , it is an important addition to our analysis.


Mackenbach, J. P., Stirbu, I., Roskam, A. J., Schaap, M. M., Menvielle, G., Leinsalu, M. et al. (2008). Socioeconomic inequalities in health in 22 European countries. The New England Journal of Medicine, 358(23), 2468-2481.

Leyland, A., Dundas, R., McLoone, P., & Boddy, F. A. (2007). Cause-specific inequalities in mortality in Scotland: Two decades of change. A population-based study. BMC Public Health 7(1), 172

Leon, D. A., Morton, S., Cannegieter, S., & McKee, M. (2003). Understanding the health of ScotlandÂ’s population in an international context: A review of current approaches, knowledge and recommendations for new research directions. Glasgow: Public Health Institute of Scotland

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