Women have in general poorer self-rated health than men. Both material and psychosocial conditions have been found to be associated with self-rated health. We investigated whether two such factors, financial insecurity and condescending treatment, could explain the difference in self-rated health between women and men.
The association between the two factors and self-rated health was investigated in a population-based sample of 35,018 respondents. The data were obtained using a postal survey questionnaire sent to a random sample of men and women aged 18-75?years in 2008. The area covers 55 municipalities in central Sweden and the overall response rate was 59%. Multinomial odds ratios for poor self-rated health were calculated adjusting for age, educational level and longstanding illness and in the final model also for financial insecurity and condescending treatment.
The prevalence of poor self-rated health was 7.4% among women and 6.0% among men. Women reported more often financial insecurity and condescending treatment than men did. The odds ratio for poor self-rated health in relation to good self-rated health was 1.29 (95% CI: 1.17-1.42) for women compared to men when adjusted for age, educational level and longstanding illness. The association became, however, statistically non-significant when adjusted for financial insecurity and condescending treatment.
The present findings suggest that women would have as good self-rated health as men if they had similar financial security as men and were not treated in a condescending manner to a larger extent than men. Longitudinal studies are, however, required to confirm this conclusion.