Gender differences in asthma prevalence: Variations with socioeconomic disadvantage

Catherine R. Chittleborough, Anne W. Taylor, Eleonora Dal Grande, Tiffany Gill, Janet F. Grant, Robert J. Adams, David H. Wilson, Richard E. Ruffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined gender differences in the association between asthma and socioeconomic disadvantage using a representative population cohort. Asthma was associated with socioeconomic disadvantage but in socioeconomically advantaged groups, asthma prevalence was higher among women than men. Background and objective: Socioeconomic inequalities in health have been shown to vary for different diseases and by gender. This study aimed to examine gender differences in associations between asthma and socioeconomic disadvantage. Methods: Socioeconomic variables were assessed among men and women in the North West Adelaide Health Study, a representative population cohort (n = 4060) aged 18 years and over in metropolitan South Australia. Asthma was determined from spirometry and self-reported doctor diagnosis. Results: The prevalence of asthma was 12.0% (95% CI: 11.1-13.1), and was significantly higher among women (13.5%) than men (10.5%). For participants aged 18-64 years a higher prevalence of asthma was associated with an education level of secondary school or lower, or not being in the paid labour force among men, and with a gross annual household income of $20 000 or less among women. Among socioeconomically advantaged groups, the prevalence of asthma was significantly higher among women than men. Conclusions: Socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with higher asthma prevalence, although this varied by gender depending on the indicator of socioeconomic position used. Men with low education or those not employed in the paid labour force had higher asthma prevalence than more socioeconomically advantaged men. Women with low income had higher asthma prevalence than those with higher income. Among all socioeconomically advantaged groups, and also the low-income group, women experienced a higher prevalence of asthma than men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jan 2010


  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Gender
  • Health survey
  • Socioeconomic factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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