Back to overview

Socio-economic position and mortality: Swiss National Cohort

English title Socio-economic position and mortality: Swiss National Cohort
Applicant Egger Matthias
Number 123158
Funding scheme ProDoc
Research institution Institut für Sozial- und Präventivmedizin Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Methods of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
Start/End 01.04.2009 - 31.03.2012
Approved amount 168'380.00
Show all

All Disciplines (3)

Methods of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
Public Health and Health Services
Medical Statistics

Keywords (14)

socio-economic position; mortality; income; education; occupation; regional difference; geography; socio-economic indices; geo-coding; cause-specific mortality; culture; tobacco; alcohol; linkage studies

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Switzerland belongs to the nations with a high life expectancy. There are, however, substantial differences in mortality, according to socio-demographic, socio-economic and geographical position. This PhD will examine these disparities in detail by describing, mapping and analyzing mortality in the dimensions of time, place and person. Socioeconomic position (SEP) is an important concept in health research, which refers to the social and economic factors that influence what positions individuals or groups hold within society. Poorer socioeconomic circumstances lead to poorer health and higher mortality. For example, at age 30 men with university education live 7 years longer than their counterparts with compulsory education or less. These differentials are not well described or well understood. Also, SEP is an important confounding factor in health research, but an easily obtainable measure of SEP is lacking for Switzerland. Spatial analysis has a long history in public health. In recent years Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial statistics have increasingly provided powerful analytical tools for processing, analysing and visualizing geographically referenced data. The Swiss National Cohort (SNC) is a census-based cohort study based on linking individual data from the Census 1990 to the Census 2000 and the mortality data. The census includes information at the level of the individual, household and building. The study covers the whole Swiss resident population and, thanks to the precise geo-coding of all buildings, it offers unique possibilities for spatial analysis of mortality. We will consider all-cause and cause-specific mortality from major causes, as well as causes that are particularly topical in the Swiss context such as multiple-person killings (family dramas) and assisted suicides. Specifically, we willo Develop area-level SEP indicators, and investigate their influence on all-cause and specific mortality in Switzerlando Create and analyse national spatio-temporal datasets of mortality from different causes, including multiple person killings and assisted suicide o Use novel approaches to visualize and map mortality patterns.This PhD project will contribute to a better understanding of differentials in all-cause and cause-specific mortality in Switzerland, in the setting of a unique longitudinal study of a culturally diverse population. The area-based indicators of SEP will be useful in health research in Switzerland, allowing analyses of the importance of SEP and better adjustment for these factors in future studies. Finally, new insights will be gained on causes of death that are topical in the Swiss context.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



A Swiss neighbourhood index of socioeconomic position: development and association with mortality.
Panczak Radoslaw, Galobardes Bruna, Voorpostel Marieke, Spoerri Adrian, Zwahlen Marcel, Egger Matthias, for the Swiss National Cohort and the Swiss Household Panel (2012), A Swiss neighbourhood index of socioeconomic position: development and association with mortality., in Journal of epidemiology and community health, epub ahead of print, 1-8.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Swiss Public Health Conference 05.07.2011 Nottwil


Title Year
SSPH+ PhD Award for Best Abstract 2011