Marital status, social capital and health locus of control: a population-based study

M Lindström, M Rosvall
Public Health 2012, 126 (9): 790-5

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between marital status and lack of internal health locus of control (HLC), taking economic stress and trust into account.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: The public health survey Skåne 2008 is a postal questionnaire study (55% participation rate). A random sample was invited to participate, and 28,198 individuals aged 18-80 years agreed. Logistic regression models were used to discern associations between marital status and lack of internal HLC. The multiple regression analyses included age, country of birth, education, economic stress and 'horizontal' trust.

RESULTS: In total, 33.7% of the men and 31.8% of the women lacked internal HLC. After age-adjustments, the unmarried and divorced men and the widowed women displayed significantly higher odds ratios of lack of internal HLC. The significantly higher odds ratios only remained for unmarried men throughout the multiple analyses. In contrast, divorced women had significantly lower odds ratios of lack of internal HLC than married women after adjustments for economic stress.

CONCLUSIONS: Health promotion regarding HLC and related behaviours should consider men and women who are not cohabiting. Health promotion should particularly consider unmarried men due to their higher propensity to lack internal HLC. The economic conditions and exposure to economic stress among widowed and divorced women should also be highlighted.

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