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Social characteristics and their effect on self-rated health in persons over 18 years of age

Joana Ivanova Simeonova, Angelika Velkova, Penka Kostadinova


Introduction: Social stratification of people results from differences in education occupation and income, and it exposes the people from lower social classes to different health risks and deprives them of ability to control their health. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of individual social status on self-rated health (SRH). Two hypotheses were tested. First, if some social factors (education, financial resources and monthly income per family member) have direct effects on SRH. Second, if these social factors influence the relationships of psychological stress and some behavioral factors to SRH.

Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 90 persons over 18 years of age in 2013. Self-rated health, psychological stress, social status (education, income, property ownership, and qualification) and some behavioral characteristics (body-mass index and fresh vegetable intake) were studied by a semi-structured interview. Data were processed by SPSS.v.19. Descriptive statistics, ANOVA and Kruskall-Wallis tests were used. Finally, Spearman rho test was applied to clarify the strength and direction of association between variables.

Results: Most of the interviewees (47.8%) assessed their health as good. Stratification by some basic social characteristics showed that 5.6% of them had elementary education, 12.4% were unemployed. One third of the group under study existed on monthly income less than 310 BGN, 30% defined their financial resources as insufficient, 16.6% lived in rented accommodation. Every third person reported a disparity between the current job position and the owned professional competences. Education and financial resources were the variables significantly associated with self-rated health - those with elementary education and those who had insufficient financial resources perceived their health negatively more often (p=0.001). Symmetrical distribution of poor SRH among the groups with lower incomes explained partly the lack of significant differences between groups (p=0.469).

Conclusion: Education and financial resources were significantly associated with self-rated health among all studied social factors.


self-rated health; social status; psychological stress

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About The Authors

Joana Ivanova Simeonova
Medical university of Pleven

Angelika Velkova
Medical university of Sofia

Penka Kostadinova
RHIF of Pleven

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