The current study explores factors underlying the observed gender differences in levels of social integration among older adults within the context of the Arab countries. Reports on older adults’ engagement in social activities were classified into two broad categories; “private activities that are child-centered” and “public activities that are adult-centered and extend beyond the realm of the family’s children.” Findings revealed that gender differences in older adults’ involvement in both types of activities were found to be insignificant, a result that indicates older women’s withdrawal from shouldering private-type activities and their increase engagement in public-type activities. Patrilocal residence, which is very common in the Arab countries, exhibited two different patterns of effects on levels of social integration. It increased older adults’ reports of involvement in private-type activities in general, but decreases older women’s reports of their involvement in these activities. Modernization and its impact on older adults’ levels of social integration were also investigated in terms of both education and urban/rural residence. Education was positively correlated with older adults’ engagements in private-type activities, but not public-type activities. Urban residence and living in a less restricted social environment in general was associated with decreases in older adults’ reports of their involvement in private-type activities. Nevertheless, older women residing in urban settings were found to report more involvement in both private and public activities. The current study highlights the need for more future studies that explore aspects of older adults’ integration within the family and the community, the interplay between attributes of older adults and members of their social network as well as the impact of social integration on the well-being of older adults within various normative cultural contexts.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
There was no distinction between cases in which proxies were employed due to physical or cognitive impairments among older persons
Ajrouch, K., Blandon, A., & Antonucci, T. (2005). Social networks among men and women: the effects of age and socioeconomic status. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 60B, 311–317.
Ammar, N. (1988). An Egyptian village growing up: Silwa, the Governorate of Aswan. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University of Florida.
Antonucci, T. and Akiyama, H. (1987). Social networks in adult life and a preliminary examination of the convoy model. Journal of Gerontology, 42(5), 519–527.
Antonucci, T., Akiyama, H., & Lansford, J. (1998). Negative effects of close social relations. Journal of Applied Family Studies, 47, 379–384.
Balk, D. (1994). Individual and community aspects of women’s status and fertility in rural Bangladesh. Population Studies, 48(1), 21–45.
Bassuk, S., Glass, T., & Berkman, L. (1999). Social disengagement and incident cognitive decline in community-dwelling elderly persons. Annals of Internal Medicine, 131, 165–173.
Bengston, V. L., Gans, D., Putney, N. M., & Silverstein, M. (2009). Theories about age and Aging. In V. L. Bengston, D. Gans, N. M. Putney, & M. Silverstein (Eds.), Handbook of theories of aging (2nd Ed.), New York: Springer Publishing.
Berkman, F. & Breslow, L. (1983). Health and ways of living: The Alameda County study. New York: Oxford University Press.
Berkman, L., Glass, T., Brissette, I., & Seeman, T. (2000). From social integration to health: Durkhiem in the new millennium. Social Science & Medicine, 51, 843–857.
Brown, J. (1982). Cross- cultural perspectives on middle-aged women. Current Anthropology, 23(20), 143–156.
Cowgill, D. (1986). Aging around the world. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.
Cowgill, D., & Holmes, L. (1972). Aging and modernization. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.
Das Gupta, M. (1995). Life course perspective on women’s autonomy and health outcome. American Anthropologist, New Series, 97(3), 481–491.
Davidson, K., Daly, T., & Arber, S. (2003). Exploring the social worlds of older men. In S. Arber, K. Davidson, & J. Ginn (Eds.), Gender and ageing: Changing roles and relationships (pp. 168–185). Philadelphia: Open University Press.
Dejong, J., & Khoury, G. (2006). Reproductive health of Arab young people. BMJ, 333, 849–851.
Durkhiem, E. ( 1951). Suicide: A study in sociology, translated by John A. Spaulding and George Simpson. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.
El-Safty, M. (2004). Women in Egypt: Islamic rights versus cultural practice. Sex Roles 51, 273–281.
Erman, T. (1998). The impact of migration on Turkish rural women. Gender & Society 12, 146–67.
Garcia, E., & Herrero, J. (2004). Determinants of social integration in the community: an exploratory analysis of personal, interpersonal and situational variables. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 14, 1–15.
Giddens, A. (1990). The consequences of modernity. Stanford University Press.
Giddens, A. (1992). The transformation of intimacy, sexuality, love, and eroticism in modern societies. Stanford University Press.
Giddens, A. (1994). Living in a post-traditional society. In U. Beck, A. Giddens, & S. Lash (Eds.), Reflexive modernization: politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order (pp. 56–109). Cambridge: Polity.
Giddens, A. (1998). The third way: The renewal of social democracy. Blackwell.
Giddens, A. (2000). Runaway world: how globalization is reshaping our lives. Routledge.
Grasmick, H., Hagan, J., Blackwell, B., & Arneklev, B. (1996). Risk preferences and patriarchy: extending power-control theory. Social Forces, 75(1), 177–199.
Haj-Yahia, M. (2000). Wife abuse and battering in the socio-cultural context of the Arab society. Family Process, 39(2), 237–255.
Hallouda, A., Farid, S. & Cochrane, S. (Eds.) (1988). Demographic responses to modernization. Cairo: CAPMAS.
Hoodfar, H. (1997). Between marriage and the market: intimate politics and survival in Cairo. Berkeley: University of California Press.
House, J. & Kahn, L. (1985). Measures and concepts of social support. In S. Cohen and S. L. Syme (Eds.), Social support and health. New York: Academic Press.
House, J., Robbins, C., & Metzner, H. (1982). The association of social relationships and activities with mortality: Prospective evidence from the Tecumseh Community Health Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 116, 123–140.
House, J., Umberson, D., & Landis, K. (1988). Structures and process of social support. Annual Review of Sociology, 14, 293–318.
Institute of National Planning (INP). (2003). Egypt human development report 2005. Cairo Egypt: Al Ahram Commercial.
Joseph, S. (1993). Gender and relationality among Arab families in Lebanon. Feminist Studies, 19(3), 465–486.
Kandiyoti, D. (1988). Bargaining with patriarchy. Gender and Society, Special Issue to Honor Jessie Bernard, 2(3), 274–290.
Kawachi, I., & Berkman, L. F. (2001). Social ties and mental health. Journal of Urban Health, 78(3), 458–467.
Kawar, M. (2000). Transitions and boundaries: research into the impact of paid work on young women’s lives in Jordan. Gender and Development, 8(2), 55–65.
Keyes, C. (1998). Social well being. Social Psychology Quarterly, 61(2), 121–140.
Khadr, Z. (1997). Living arrangement and social support of older population in Egypt. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. University of Michigan.
Lin, Chieh_ Peng. (2006). Gender differs: modeling knowledge sharing from a perspective of social network ties. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 9, 236–241.
Maddox, G. (1979). Sociology of aging. Annual Review of Sociology, 5, 113–135.
Martin, L. (1990). The status of South Asia’s growing elderly population. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 5, 93–117.
Morsey, S. (1978). Sex differences and falk illness in an Egyptian village. In L. Beck & N. Keddi (Eds.), Women in the muslim world (pp. 599–616). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Mule, P, & Barthel, D. (1992). The Return to the veil: Individual autonomy vs. social esteem. Sociological Forum, 7(2), 323–332.
Olmsted, J. (2005). Gender, aging and the evolving Arab patriarchal contract. Feminist Economic, 11(2), 53–78.
Pinquart, M. (2002). Creating and maintaining purpose in life in old age: a meta-analysis. Ageing International, 27, 90–114.
Putney, N., & Bengtson, V. (2001). Families, intergenerational relationships, and kinkeeping in midlife. In M. Lachman (Ed.), Handbook of midlife development. New York: Wiley.
Rao, J., & Scott, A. (1981). The analysis of categorical data from complex sample surveys: chi- squared tests for goodness of fit and independence in two-way tables. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 76, 221–230.
Rao, J., & Scott, A. (1984). On chi-squared tests for multi-way contingency tables with cell proportions estimated from survey data. Annals of Statistics, 12, 46–60.
Ross, E. & Mirowsky, J. 1989. Explaining the social patterns of depression: Control and problem-solving or support and talking. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 30(2), 206–219.
Roudi-Fahimi, F., & Kent, M. (2007). Challenges and opportunities: the population of the Middle East and North Africa. Population Bulletin. 62(2) (Washington DC: Population Reference Bureau).
Rugh, A. (1984). Family in contemporary Egypt. New York: Syracuse University Press.
Seeman, T. (2000). Health promoting effects of friends and family on health outcome in older adults. American Journal of Health Promotion, 14, 362–370.
Shah, N., Yount, K., Shah, M., & Menon, I. (2002). Living arrangements of older women and men in Kuwait. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 17, 37–55.
Tabutin, D., Shoumaker, B., Rogers, G., Mandelbaum, J., & Dutreuilh, C. (2005). The Demography of the Arab World and the Middle East from the 1950 s to the 2000s. ASurvey of Changes and a Statistical Assessment. Population (English Edition). 60(5/6):505–591+593–615.
Thoits, P. (1983). Multiple identities and psychological well being: a reformulation and test of the social isolation hypothesis. American Sociological Review, 48, 174–187.
Thoits, P. (1986). Multiple identities: examining gender and marital status differences in distress. American Sociology Review, 51, 259–272.
Tanaka, K., & Johnson, N. (2010). Social integration and healthy aging in Japan: how gender and rurality matter. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 25, 199–216.
Treas, J., & Logue, B. (1986). Economic development and the older population. Population and Development Review, 12(4), 645–673.
Turner, R., & Marino, F. (1994). Social support and social structure: a descriptive analysis. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 35, 193–212.
United Nations. (2009). World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2006 Revision, Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp2008/index.htm, retrieved on January 9, 2011.
Walby, S. (2000). Analyzing social inequality in the twenty-first century: Globalization and modernity restructure inequality. In Symposium; Charting Futures for Sociology: Inequality Mechanisms, Intersections, and Global Change. Contemporary Sociology, 29(6): 813–818.
Walen, H., & Lachman, M. E. (2000). Social support and strain from partner, family and friends: costs and benefits for men and women. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17, 5–30.
Williams, L., & Domingo, L. (1993). The social status of elderly women and men within the Filipino family. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 415–426.
Yount, K., & Agree, E. (2004). The power of older women and men in Egyptian and Tunisian families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66, 126–146.
Yount, K. (2005a). Resources, family organization, and violence against married women in Minya, Egypt. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 67(3), 579–596.
Yount, K. (2005b). Women’s family power and gender preference in Minya, Egypt. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 67(2), 410–428.
Yount, K. M., & Sibai, A. (2009). The demography of aging in Arab countries. In P. Uhlenberg, International Handbook on the Demography of Aging.
Zunzunegui, M., Alvarado, B., Del Ser, T., & Otero, A. (2003). Social networks, social integration and social engagement determine cognitive decline in community-dwelling Spanish older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 58B(2), 93–100.
About this article
Cite this article
Khadr, Z. Differences in Levels of Social Integration among Older Women and Men in Egypt. J Cross Cult Gerontol 26, 137–156 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10823-011-9140-3
- Gender differences
- Social integration