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About us

The SoFIE-Health study aims to investigate the associations and causal pathways between social and economic position and health using a longitudinal and nationally representative study (SoFIE).


  • What is the association of changes in family circumstances, labour force status, benefit receipt and income with changes in health status and behaviour?
  • What is the impact of cancer diagnosis and hospitalisations for major illness on income and asset trajectories, labour force status and family circumstances?

SoFIE-Primary Care (SoFIE PC) aims to investigate the associations and causal pathways between sociodemographic characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, socio-economic position, region) and primary care affiliation, access and continuity (PCAAC) using SoFIE and SoFIE-Health.

SoFIE is a nationally representative longitudinal study of approximately 20,000 adults drawn by random sampling of households, interviewed face to face. All adults in the original sample will be followed over time, even if their household or family circumstances change. The SoFIE-Health add-on will comprise 20 minutes of questionnaire time in waves 3 (2004-05), 5 (2006-07) and 7 (2008-09), in the following health-related domains: health status (SF36 & Kessler scale), chronic conditions (heart disease, diabetes, and injury-related disability), exercise, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, health care utilization, and access and continuity of primary health care.

SoFIE is being implemented by SNZ, in keeping with the Statistics Act 1975. To ensure compliance with ethical standards of health research, ethical approval for SoFIE-Health was sought and obtained from the University of Otago Ethics Committee.

The Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE) is an 8-year longitudinal study of income, labour force participation, educational training, asset accumulation and family structure. It commenced in October 2002 and is being run by Statistics New Zealand (SNZ).


SoFIE-Health is primarily funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand (ACC) and Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council (ALAC). Establishment funding was also received from the University of Otago.


Publications and presentations

A list of publications and presentations related to the SoFIE-Health project

Our People

University of Otago, Wellington

Other organisations

  • Richard Arnold (Victoria University)
  • Ivy Liu (Victoria University)
  • Alistair Woodward (Univeristy of Auckland)

SoFIE-Health Project
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington
PO Box 7343
Wellington South 6242
New Zealand
Tel 64 4 918 5072

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