Title

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

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Social Science and Medicine

Publication Date

7-1-2006

Volume

63

Issue

1

First Page

118

Last Page

122

Keywords

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

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 x 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 x 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.

DOI

10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.12.004

Print ISSN

02779536

E-ISSN

18735347

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd

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Full-text Version

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Recommended Citation

Cheng, S. T., & Chan, C. M. A. (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