Small-area socioeconomic deprivation indices in Cyprus: development and association with premature mortality
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BACKGROUND: Area-level measures of socioeconomic deprivation are important for understanding and describing health inequalities. The aim of this study was the development and validation of a small-area index of socioeconomic deprivation for Cypriot communities and the investigation of its association with the spatial distribution of all-cause premature adult mortality. METHODS: Six area-level socioeconomic indicators were used from the 2011 national population census (low educational attainment, unemployment, not owner occupied household, single-person household, divorced or widowed and single-parent households). After normalization and standardization of the geographically smoothed indicators, Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used to construct indicator weights. The association between deprivation indices and the spatial distribution of all-cause premature adult mortality was estimated in Poisson log-linear spatial models. RESULTS: PCA resulted in two principal components explaining the 65.7% of the total variance. The first principal component included four indicators (low educational attainment, single-person households, divorced or widowed and single-parent households, the latter however with a negative loading) and it thought more likely to capture rural-related aspects of deprivation. The second principal component included the other two indicators (unemployment and not owner occupied households) and it is more likely to capture urban-related aspects of material deprivation. Restricting the analysis in the metropolitan areas of the island resulted in a different set of indicators for the urban-specific deprivation index. All developed indices were linearly associated with all-cause premature adult mortality. The all-cause premature adult mortality increased by 17% per 1 standard deviation (SD) increase in rural-related socioeconomic deprivation (95% CrI: 8-27%) and 8% per 1 SD increase in urban-related aspects of material deprivation (95% CrI: 3-15%) in the nationwide analysis and 9% per 1 SD increase in urban-specific socioeconomic deprivation (95% CrI: 4-15%) across metropolitan areas. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate that a set of small-area indices of socioeconomic deprivation across Cypriot communities have good construct and predictive validity. However, the study indicates that different aspects of socioeconomic deprivation may be important in rural and urban areas in Cyprus. The developed socioeconomic deprivation indices could offer a valid new tool for Cypriot public health research and policy in terms of identifying areas in greatest need, guiding resource allocation and developing area-targeted public health programmes and policies.