Civic engagement, gender and self-rated health in poor communities: evidence from Jordan's refugee camps

Khawaja, Marwan; Tewtel-Salem, Mylene; Obeid, Maya; Saliba, Matilda
June 2006
Health Sociology Review;Jun2006, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p192
Academic Journal
This paper examines the association between civic engagement and self-rated health among a sample of adults living in refugee camps in Jordan. The analysis is based on a cross-sectional sample survey of all households residing in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, and interviewed in the spring and summer of 1999. The outcome variable is self-rated health. Associations between civic engagement and self-rated health are assessed using ?2 tests and logistic regression models. Findings from a logistic regression model show that civic engagement, as measured primarily by membership in clubs and other civic groups, has a significant association with self-rated health net of the effects of demographic, human capital and health risk factors. The final model shows that the effects of control variables are in the anticipated direction, with age, marital status, health risk, education and poverty statistically significant. However, the findings pertaining to civic engagement hold for men but not women. We conclude that civic engagement is a powerful and significant predictor of self-rated health status among refugee men living in poor communities, but not for women. Low literacy and persisting patriarchy may account for the non-significant association between civic engagement and health status among women in this context.


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