IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Explaining health differences between men and women in later life: A cross-city comparison in Latin America and the Caribbean

Listed author(s):
  • Zunzunegui, Maria-Victoria
  • Alvarado, Beatriz-Eugenia
  • Béland, François
  • Vissandjee, Bilkis
Registered author(s):

    This paper describes differences in health and functional status among older men and women and attempts to anchor the explanations for these differences within a lifecourse perspective. Seven health outcomes for men and women 60 years and older from seven Latin American and Caribbean cities are examined, using data from the 2000 SABE survey (Salud, Bienestar y Envejecimiento--n = 10,587). Age-adjusted as well as city- and sex-specific prevalence was estimated for poor self-rated health, comorbidity, mobility limitations, cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms and disability in basic and instrumental activities of daily living. Logistic regressions were fitted to determine if the differences between men and women in each outcome could be explained by differential exposures in childhood (hunger, poverty), adulthood (education, occupation) and old age (income) and/or by differential vulnerability of men and women to these exposures. Sao Paulo, Santiago and Mexico, cities in countries with a high level of income inequalities, presented the highest prevalence of disability, functional limitations and poor physical health for both women and men. Women showed poorer health outcomes as compared with men for all health indicators and in all cities. Controlling for lifecourse exposures in childhood, adulthood and old age did not attenuate these differences. Women's unadjusted and adjusted odds of reporting poor self-rated health, cognitive impairment and basic activities of daily living disability were approximately 50% higher than for men, twice as high for number of comorbidities, depressive symptoms and instrumental activities of daily living disability, and almost three times as high for mobility limitations. Higher vulnerability to lifecourse exposures in women as compared with men was not found, meaning that lifecourse exposures have similar odds of poor health outcomes for men and women. A more integrated understanding of how sex and gender act together to influence health and function in old age needs consideration of additional biological and social factors.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277-9536(08)00563-7
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 235-242

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:2:p:235-242
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description

    Order Information: Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional
    Web: http://www.elsevier.com/orderme/journalorderform.cws_home/315/journalorderform1/orderooc/id=654&ref=654_01_ooc_1&version=01

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Marion Williams & Kyle Rudden & André Medici & Olivia S. Mitchell & Pietro Masci & P. Desmond Brunton & Derek M. Osborne & Euric Allan Bobb & Kenroy Dowers & Lawrence H. Thompson & Javier Díaz Cassou , 2005. "Workable Pension Systems: Reforms in the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 3018 edited by Pietro Masci & P. Desmond Brunton, February.
    2. Anne Case & Christina Paxson, 2005. "Sex differences in morbidity and mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(2), pages 189-214, May.
    3. Curtis, Sarah & Lawson, Kim, 2000. "Gender, ethnicity and self-reported health: the case of African-Caribbean populations in London," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 365-385, February.
    4. Paddison, Oliver, 2006. "Social security in the english-speaking Caribbean," Financiamiento para el Desarrollo 178, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    5. repec:idb:brikps:3018 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Arber, Sara & Cooper, Helen, 1999. "Gender differences in health in later life: the new paradox?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 61-76, January.
    7. Paddison, Oliver, 2006. "Social security in the english-speaking Caribbean," Documentos de Proyectos 83, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    8. Zunzunegui, M. V. & Koné, A. & Johri, M. & Béland, F. & Wolfson, C. & Bergman, H., 2004. "Social networks and self-rated health in two French-speaking Canadian community dwelling populations over 65," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 2069-2081, May.
    9. Zhenmei Zhang, 2006. "Gender Differentials in Cognitive Impairment and Decline of the Oldest Old in China," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 61(2), pages 107-115.
    10. Denton, Margaret & Walters, Vivienne, 1999. "Gender differences in structural and behavioral determinants of health: an analysis of the social production of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(9), pages 1221-1235, May.
    11. Denton, Margaret & Prus, Steven & Walters, Vivienne, 2004. "Gender differences in health: a Canadian study of the psychosocial, structural and behavioural determinants of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2585-2600, June.
    12. McDonough, Peggy & Walters, Vivienne, 2001. "Gender and health: reassessing patterns and explanations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 547-559, February.
    13. Matthews, Sharon & Power, Chris, 2002. "Socio-economic gradients in psychological distress: a focus on women, social roles and work-home characteristics," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 799-810, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:68:y:2009:i:2:p:235-242. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.