Gender, self-rated health and functional decline among community-dwelling older adults
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ObjectiveThis paper examines the association between self-rated health (SRH) and functional decline (FD) in older Ghanaian cohorts and investigates whether the effect differs by gender and also modified by marital status.
MethodsThe study used cross-sectional survey data (N = 1200) from an Aging, Health, Psychological Wellbeing and Health-seeking Behavior Study (AHPWHB) study conducted in between August 2016 and January 2017. A four-level gendered-stratified logit modeling estimated the SRH-FD association and the interaction terms.
ResultsOverall, 23% of male respondents and 34% of women revealed significant FD (p < 0.001). The fully-adjusted model showed that SRH status was a strong predictor of FD across genders but the effect was most pronounced among men. Compared with excellent/very good SRH, fair and poor SRH (β = 0.160; p < 0.05) and (β = 1.700; p < 0.001) for women and (β = 2.202; p < 0.001) and (β= 2.356; p < 0.001) for men respectively were significantly associated with increased FD. However, good (β = - 1.760; p < 0.001), fair (β = - 2.800; p < 0.001) and poor SRH (β = -2.088; p < 0.001) decreased FD if an older woman was married compared with unmarried women with excellent/very good SRH.
ConclusionThe strength of SRH-FDs association largely differed with gender and also moderated by marital status for women. Improving the SRH and marital quality could be protective of functional abilities, independence and quality of life for older people.
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