Health, Cultural and Socioeconomic Factors Related to Self-Rated Health of Long-Term Jewish Residents, Immigrants, and Arab Women in Midlife in Israel

Yael Benyamini, Valentina Boyko, Tzvia Blumstein, Liat Lerner-Geva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Self-rated health (SRH) has been found to predict future health, yet its importance is unique in the information it captures, beyond more objective measures. This information can include psychosocial and cultural factors that can be important in understanding women's health. Our goal was to test whether long-term Jewish residents (LTJR), immigrant, and Arab women differed in their SRH, whether these differences were maintained after controlling for indicators of health status, and, if so, whether the differences among the three groups reflected psychosocial or socioeconomic factors. A nationally representative sample of 814 women in Israel aged 45-64 years was interviewed (between June 2004 and March 2006) regarding socio-demographics, physical health, health behaviors, and psychosocial aspects. Both immigrant and Arab women reported poorer SRH, physical and mental health, and socioeconomic status. Differences between Arab women and LTJR were mostly explained by differences in health measures (e.g., medications and symptoms) and psychosocial measures (e.g., caregiving load and depressive symptoms) and were eliminated when socioeconomic measures were added to the multiple regression models. Differences in SRH between immigrants and LTJR remained after multiple adjustments, suggesting that they reflected unmeasured cultural factors. Even with universal healthcare coverage in a small country (i.e., with minimal financial and geographical barriers to healthcare) minority groups' health suffers in relation to their socioeconomic and life circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-424
Number of pages23
JournalWomen and Health
Volume54
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Israel
  • cultural differences
  • health inequalities
  • immigrants
  • midlife
  • minorities
  • self-assessed health
  • self-rated health
  • women

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