The impact of individual- and contextual-level characteristics on the health of Metropolitan Seoul adult residents
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This project examines contemporary health status of Metropolitan Seoul adult residents from a sociological point of view. Recent changes in the pattern of urbanization observed in Metropolitan Seoul include intra-urban population redistribution, which also involves residential clustering by socioeconomic status. This process results in uneven distribution of social resources and quality of life across small areas within Metropolitan Seoul. This project investigates the impact of ecological characteristics, such as area-level socioeconomic status, public/private organizational aspects, and environmental hazards, on the health of adult individuals in this area. Responding to the fact that there have been few attempts to examine the health of Koreans focusing on social risk factors, this project also takes into account individual-level demographic and socioeconomic characteristics with respect to their effects in shaping unequal distribution of health and illness in Metropolitan Seoul. Findings based on three health outcomes (daily activity limitations, chronic illness status, and self-rate health status) indicate that adverse health among this population is highly associated with low level of individual-level socioeconomic status. In particular, individuals with very low educational attainment are at high risks of activity limitation and chronic disease, which reflects the importance of education in Korean society. Being inconsistent with findings from similar studies in Western societies, arealevel attributes show little or none effect on the health of individuals. Findings from the analysis of the pattern of health care service utilization among Metropolitan Seoul residents suggest that public health policy should be prepared in the direction that attracts individuals of low socioeconomic status to pay particular attention to prevention of diseases.