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Open Access Research

Gender differences in predictors of self-rated health in Armenia: a population-based study of an economy in transition

Anahit Demirchyan1*, Varduhi Petrosyan1 and Michael E Thompson2

Author Affiliations

1 College of Health Sciences, American University of Armenia, 40 Marshal Baghramian Avenue, Yerevan 0019, Armenia

2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, USA

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International Journal for Equity in Health 2012, 11:67  doi:10.1186/1475-9276-11-67

Published: 14 November 2012

Abstract

Introduction

Self-rated health is a widely used health outcome measure that strongly correlates with physical and mental health status and predicts mortality. This study identified the set of predictors of fair/poor self-rated health in adult female and male populations of Armenia during a period of long-lasting socio-economic transition to a market economy.

Methods

Differences in self-rated health were analyzed along three dimensions: socioeconomic, behavioral/attitudinal, and psychosocial. The study utilized data from a 2006 nationwide household health survey that used a multi-stage probability proportional to size cluster sampling with a combination of interviewer-administered and self-administered surveys. Both female and male representatives of a household aged 18 and over completed the self-administered survey. Multivariate odds ratios (OR) for fair/poor self-rated health were calculated for different sets of variables and logistic regression models fitted separately for women and men to identify the determinants of fair/poor self-rated health.

Results

Overall, 2310 women and 462 men participated in the survey. The rate of fair/poor self-rated health was 61.8% among women and 59.7% among men. For women, the set of independent predictors of fair/poor self-rated health included age, unemployment, poverty, low affordability of healthcare, depression, and weak social support. For men, the set included age, lower education, depression, weak social support, and drinking alcohol less than once a week. For both genders, depression and weak social support demonstrated the strongest independent association with fair/poor self-rated health.

Conclusions

The prevalence of fair/poor self-rated health was similar among men and women in this study, but the sets of independent predictors of perceived health differed somewhat, possibly, reflecting lifestyle differences between men and women in Armenia. Nevertheless, psychosocial variables were the strongest predictors of fair/poor self-rated health for both genders, indicating the importance of improving the country’s psychosocial environment through social reforms and poverty reduction.

Keywords:
Armenia; Self-rated health; Depression; Social support; Poverty; Psychosocial pathways