, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1371-1379

The role of gender in the association of social capital, social support, and economic security with self-rated health among older adults in deprived communities in Beirut

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Abstract

Purpose

To examine gender variations in the association of self-rated health (SRH) with social capital, social support, and economic security among older adults from three deprived communities in the suburbs of metropolitan Beirut.

Methods

A population-based cross-sectional study using the Older Adult Component of the Urban Health Survey. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 328 older men and 412 older women aged 60 years and above. SRH was assessed by a single question and treated as a dichotomous outcome, and several indicators of social capital, social support, and economic security were examined as independent variables.

Results

Women were significantly more likely to report poor SRH compared to men (37.2 vs. 25.9 %, respectively). Better social capital indicators decreased significantly the odds of poor SRH among both men (OR = 0.76, 95 % CI: 0.65–0.89) and women (OR = 0.71, 95 % CI: 0.62–0.82). Social support was strongly associated with SRH among women (OR = 0.56), but not among men (OR = 0.94). The reverse situation was observed for economic security (OR = 0.57 among men, OR = 0.80 among women).

Conclusions

In these deprived neighborhoods, social and economic factors may have gender-specific effects on the promotion of well-being among older adults, with social support being more salient to women’s SRH and economic security being more salient to men’s SRH. In health studies among older people, SRH captures not only social and physical health but also broader economic well-being.