Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1371–1379 | Cite as

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

  • Hiam Chemaitelly
  • Caroline Kanaan
  • Hind Beydoun
  • Monique Chaaya
  • Mona Kanaan
  • Abla M. Sibai



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.


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.


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).


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.


Economic security Lebanon Older people Self-rated health Social capital Social support 



Activities of daily living


Confidence interval


Lebanese pounds


Odds ratio


Standard deviation


Self-rated health


Urban Health Survey



This study was part of a larger multidisciplinary research project on urban health sponsored by the Center for Research on Population and Health at the American University of Beirut and supported by grants from the Wellcome Trust, the Mellon Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiam Chemaitelly
    • 1
  • Caroline Kanaan
    • 2
  • Hind Beydoun
    • 3
  • Monique Chaaya
    • 4
  • Mona Kanaan
    • 5
  • Abla M. Sibai
    • 4
  1. 1.Weill Cornell Medical College-QatarDohaQatar
  2. 2.Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  3. 3.Graduate Program in Public HealthEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health SciencesAmerican University of BeirutBeirutLebanon
  5. 5.Department of Health SciencesThe University of YorkHeslington, YorkUK

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