All authors contributed to originating the idea. FG and AM analyzed the data and AM wrote the manuscript draft. All authors contributed to interpretation of the results and critically revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.
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.