Socioeconomic Differences in Hysterectomy: Evidence from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study

Marks, Nadine F., and Diane S. Shinberg
Working paper no. 1996-04


Objectives: A large sample of midlife Wisconsin women followed longitudinally for 35 years was used to evaluate the relative gross and net predictive value of multiple socioeconomic status (SES) indicators (including parental, spousal, and individual assessments) for the likelihood of undergoing hysterectomy.

Methods: Data from a representative sample of Wisconsin Longitudinal Study 1957-93 (WLS) women respondents (N=3,326) who were last interviewed at about age 53-54 were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Women’s own occupational status and family net worth were significant net predictors of hysterectomy. A significant bivariate association of education with hysterectomy was not accounted for by controlling for mental ability. Education was no longer a significant predictor when adjustment was made for occupational status.

Conclusions: These results suggest that educational attainment among women and its influence on their likelihood of undergoing hysterectomy is not due to more intrinsically able women taking better care of their health, but more educated women having opportunities for higher status/quality employment and its benefits. Measures of women’s own occupational status and wealth should be included in future public health data surveys.