Getting Old Well in Sub Saharan Africa: Exploring the Social and Structural Drivers of Subjective Wellbeing among Elderly Men and Women in Uganda Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • While literature attempts to explain why self-reported subjective wellbeing (SWB) generally increases with age in most high-income countries based on a social determinants of a health framework, little work attempts to explain the low levels of self-report SWB among older persons in sub-Saharan Africa. Using the 2013 Uganda Study on Global Aging and Health with 470 individuals, this research examines (i) direct and indirect effects of age on SWB through social and structural determinants, and (ii) how direct and indirect effects vary by gender. Results show a significant direct and negative effect of age on SWB (β = 0.42, p = 0.01). Six indirect paths were statistically significant and their indirect effects on wellbeing varied by gender. Providing support, education, working status, asset level, financial status and financial improvement were significantly positively associated with men’s SWB, whereas younger age, providing community support, participating in group activities, number of close friends/relatives, government assistance and all socio-economic variables were significantly positively associated with women’s SWB. Strategies to address gendered economic, social and political inequalities among and between elderly populations are urgently needed.

publication date

  • March 31, 2020