Social support and self-rated health revisited: Is there a gender difference in later life?

Sheung-Tak CHENG, Alfred C. M. CHAN

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37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the physical, behavioral, emotional and social determinants of self-rated health among Chinese older persons, and investigates if the effect of social support varies by gender. A representative sample of 1589 elderly community dwellers in Hong Kong were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Gender difference in the effect of social support was tested by an interaction term, 'gender×social support', in a hierarchical regression analysis. The frequency of falling ill, the number of chronic illnesses, sleep quality, mobility and positive emotions were most important determinants of self-rated health. The effect of social support was completely redundant when these factors were taken into account. The interaction term 'gender×social support' was significant and indicated a stronger effect for women, but the effect size was negligible (adding only 0.3% to the explained variance). This suggests that the effect of social support by and large is gender free. These findings suggest a high degree of similarity in the determinants of self-rated health between Western and Chinese older populations. Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-122
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Citation

Cheng, S.-T., & Chan, A. C. M. (2006). Social support and self-rated health revisited: Is there a gender difference in later life? Social Science & Medicine, 63(1), 118-122. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.12.004

Keywords

  • Self-rated health
  • Social support
  • Gender
  • Elderly
  • Hong Kong