On the 7th of July 2021 our colleague, Lucia Bosáková have been awarded a PhD degree at the University of Groningen during a defence and PhD ceremony held online between the University of Groningen and Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice. The thesis entitled “Breaking the cycle of poverty: routes to counteract intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic health differences” was defended in the presence of the College of Deans and the PhD Examining Committee. More information about defence ceremony might be found here.
Many people are still trapped in the cycle of poverty in Europe, from generation to next generation. This is reflected in the large health inequalities, which are a persisting major public health concern that persists despite numerous efforts to reduce it. This thesis is focused on socioeconomic differences in health, with education and employability as major means to combat the intergenerational transmission of poverty. It contributes to the understanding of this the cycle of poverty, but also explores ways to break it. Using the data from Slovakia, it demonstrates how health inequalities are manifest, what their major determinants are, what their impact is, and how we could tackle them. This thesis supports the evidence that poor socioeconomic conditions pose health risks. It points that education is a key mechanism. And it shows that school satisfaction has an important role to make an educational trajectory successful, with some groups at risk. In particular boys, children from low affluence families, children with learning difficulties and with a disrupted social context, deserve extra attention. This thesis also adds evidence on ways to break the cycle of poverty. It shows room for strengthening of social policies focused on deprived families and communities in general, based on a participatory approach. And it shows the importance of improving the employability of disadvantaged workers and of developing public-private partnerships to provide work for them and to support deprived communities. This thesis can greatly add to public health and to public prosperity in Central Europe and other parts of the world.