Marital status, social capital, material conditions and self-rated health: a population-based study

Martin Lindström
Health Policy 2009, 93 (2-3): 172-9

AIMS: Associations between marital status and self-rated health were investigated, adjusting for material conditions and trust (social capital).

METHODS: The 2004 public-health survey in Skåne is a cross-sectional study. A total of 27,757 persons aged 18-80 years answered a postal questionnaire, which represents 59% of the random sample. A logistic regression model was used to investigate associations between marital status and self-rated health, adjusting for economic problems and trust.

RESULTS: The prevalence of poor self-rated health was 28.7% among men and 33.2% among women. Older respondents, respondents born abroad, with medium/low education, low emotional support, low instrumental support, economic problems, low trust, never married and divorced had significantly higher odds ratios of poor self-rated health than their respective reference group. Low trust was significantly higher among the divorced and unmarried compared to the married/cohabitating. Adjustment for economic problems but not for trust reduced the odds ratios of poor self-rated health among the divorced, which became not significant among men.

CONCLUSIONS: Never married and the divorced have significantly higher age-adjusted odds ratios of poor self-rated health than the married/cohabitating group. Economic problems but not trust seem to affect the association between marital status and poor self-rated health.

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