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Access to psycho-social resources and health: exploratory findings from a survey of the French population

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2008

Eurisco-LEGOS, Université Paris-Dauphine; and Associate Researcher, Research and Information Institute for Health Economics, (IRDES), Paris, France
Departments of Economics and Health, Aging, and Society; Center for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; and Associate Researcher, Research and Information Institute for Health Economics (IRDES), Paris, France
Research and Information Institute for Health Economics (IRDES), Paris, France
*Corresponding author: Florence Jusot, Eurisco-LEGOS, Université Paris-Dauphine, Paris, France; IRDES (Research and Information Institute for Health Economics), 10 rue Vauvenargues, 75018 Paris, France. Email:


We study the psycho-social determinants of self-assessed health in order to explain social inequalities in health in France. We use a unique general population survey to assess the respective impact on self-assessed health status of subjective perceptions of social capital, social support, and sense of control, controlling for standard socio-demographic factors (SES, income, education, age, and gender). The survey is unique in that it provides a variety of measures of self-perceived psycho-social resources (trust and civic engagement, social support, sense of control, and self-esteem). We find empirical support for the link between the subjective perception of psycho-social resources and health. Sense of control at work is the most important correlate of health status after income. Other important ones are civic engagement and social support. To a lesser extent, sense of being lower in the social hierarchy is associated with poorer health status. On the contrary, relative deprivation does not affect health in our survey. Since access to psycho-social resources is not equally distributed in the population, these findings suggest that psycho-social factors can partially explain of social inequalities in health in France.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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