Self-Rated Health and Socioeconomic Status in Old Age: The Role of Gender and the Moderating Effect of Time and Welfare Regime in Europe

Aviad Tur-Sinai, Amira Paz, Israel Doron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research has shown that health status and self-rated health (SRH) are correlated not only with age and gender but also with socioeconomic determinants, such as income, education, and employment status, in the course of life and in late life. Much less investigated, however, are gender differences in the association between socioeconomic factors and SRH and how the connection differs among the European welfare state regimes. This study examines the association between SRH and socioeconomic status in later life and in relation to gender and welfare state regime characteristics. Using SHARE data, it builds an analytical sample of respondents aged 60–70 (1275 men, 1544 women) who participated in Wave 1 and, ten years later, in Wave 6. The analysis regresses SRH by gender on socioeconomic status, controlling for various sociodemographic, health, and socioeconomic variables, as well as welfare regime indicators, at two points in time. Past health variables are also controlled for in order to evaluate their effect on SRH at the time of the investigation. A significant gender gap in SRH is found from childhood to late life. The association of socioeconomic status with poorer SRH is significant over time and within welfare state regimes. Consequently, the relationship between gender and SRH, and the extent to which it varies by socioeconomic position, does appear to differ across welfare state regimes. In all regimes and all points in time, including retrospective childhood SRH, women report poorer health than men. The analysis underscores the association between SRH and socioeconomic status in relation to gender in late life and finds that it correlates differently for men and women. The odds of women experiencing poorer SRH are higher, although they become more moderate over time. Even under the most egalitarian welfare regimes, gender differences in the nexus of SRH and socioeconomic status do not favor women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4240
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • ageing
  • health perceptions
  • old age
  • self-rated health
  • subjective health
  • welfare state regimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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