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

Sheung Tak CHENG, Cheung Ming, Alfred CHAN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

37 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-122
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


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