White women with less education were more likely to die between the mid-90s and mid-2000s.  This, according to a newly published report co-written by UW professor Anna Zajacova.

Anna Zajacova, a UW Department of Sociology assistant professor, and Jennifer Karas

Anna Zajacova (Courtesy UW)

Montez, the study’s lead author and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Harvard University, combined on the project, "Explaining the Widening Education Gap in Mortality Among U.S. White Women.

The university announced the publication of the study late last week, and says it will appear in  the June issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Zajacova says little research was done in the past to figure out the disturbing mortality trends among white women. And, in the few published studies on the topic, researchers tried to explain the trends by focusing on individual behaviors -- specifically smoking. However, this focus excluded the broad economic changes in U.S. society since the 1970s or 1980s, which included growing employment and income inequalities.

In their study, the two researchers looked at eight components of economic circumstances -- employment, occupation, poverty, home ownership, health insurance and health behaviors, smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption. They said employment and smoking were by far the most important contributors to the widening mortality gap.