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Accounting for Scotland's Excess Mortality: Towards a Synthesis

Date: April 2011
Category: Report
Author: Gerry McCartney, Chik Collins, David Walsh & David Batty

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Accounting for Scotland's Excess Mortality: Towards a Synthesis seeks to explain two distinct developments over the last century: first, the disparity between Scottish mortality and death rates across the rest of the UK and Europe which emerged in the 1950s, and second, the weakening causal link between deprivation and life expectancy from 1980 onwards.

The report relies on Bradford-Hill’s criteria for causation in epidemiology to evaluate multiple hypotheses concerning each of these ongoing imbalances, before reaching a conclusion synthesised from arguments across the various candidate explanations.

The report’s authors stress the need for further research into likely causal explanations and how these can be integrated and synthesised, as well as further policy work to improve Scotland's health.