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Mortality in Transition

Mortality in Transition: Study Protocol of the PrivMort Project, a multilevel convenience cohort study



Previous research using routine data identified rapid mass privatisation as an important driver of mortality crisis following the collapse of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe. However, existing studies on the mortality crisis relying on individual level or routine data cannot assess both distal (societal) and proximal (individual) causes of mortality simultaneously. The aim of the PrivMort Project is to overcome these limitations and to investigate the role of societal factors (particularly rapid mass privatisation) and individual-level factors (e.g. alcohol consumption) in the mortality changes in post-communist countries.


The PrivMort conducts large-sample surveys in Russia, Belarus and Hungary. The approach is unique in comparing towns that have undergone rapid privatisation of their key industrial enterprises with those that experienced more gradual forms of privatisation, employing a multi-level retrospective cohort design that combines data on the industrial characteristics of the towns, socio-economic descriptions of the communities, settlement-level data, individual socio-economic characteristics, and individuals’ health behaviour. It then incorporates data on mortality of different types of relatives of survey respondents, employing a retrospective demographic approach, which enables linkage of historical patterns of mortality to exposures, based on experiences of family members. By May 2016, 63,073 respondents provided information on themselves and 205,607 relatives, of whom 102,971 had died. The settlement-level dataset contains information on 539 settlements and 12,082 enterprises in these settlements in Russia, 96 settlements and 271 enterprises in Belarus, and 52 settlement and 148 enterprises in Hungary.


In addition to reinforcing existing evidence linking smoking, hazardous drinking and unemployment to mortality, the PrivMort dataset will investigate the variation in transition experiences for individual respondents and their families across settlements characterized by differing contextual factors, including industrial characteristics, simultaneously providing information about how excess mortality is distributed across settlements with various privatization strategies.

Irdam, D., L. King, A. Gugushvili, A. Azarova, M. Fazekas, G. Scheiring, D. Stefler, K. Doniec, P. Horvat, I. Kolesnikova, V. Popov, I. Szelenyi, M. Marmot, M. Murphy, M. McKee, and M. Bobak. 2016. "Mortality in Transition: A Multilevel Indirect Demographic Cohort Study Privmort." BMC Public Health 16(672):1-8.


BMC Public Health, Volume 16, Article number: 672 (2016)


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