Background: This article explores gender trends in self-rated health in Slovenia over the period of thirty years.The main research goals are to examine the associations between gender, social class and health, establish theextent that the patterns of subjective health converge with those in other countries and identify the most vulnerablehealth groups.
Methods: The study is based on six waves of the Slovenian Public Opinion survey carried out between 1981 and2012 on representative samples of the adult Slovenian population. The main dependent variables are the respondent’sself-assessed health and three indicators of psychosomatic health - experiences of insomnia, irregular heartbeatand anxiety. The main independent variables are gender and socio-economic status. The relationship between themwas examined using Chi-square tests.
Results: The 30 year trend is consistent with prior studies, which found that women report poorer self-assessedhealth than men. In Slovenia, this gender gap was observed in both social classes, but was more pronounced forwomen in the lower educated category. The higher prevalence of stress symptoms among women supports thetheory of chronic exhaustion resulting from the dual-role strain.
Conclusions: In Slovenia the welfare state was able to buffer the adverse effects of increased economic stressesto a significant extent after 1991, resulting in favourable health outcomes for both genders. Dismantling thesearrangements may result in short-term financial gains but is likely to trigger long-lasting negative consequences forpublic health, especially in the case of vulnerable groups such as women.
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