CHSR Researchers Identify Material Deprivation as Key Predictor of Poor Self-Rated Health in Women of Armavir Marz

In December 2008, the peer-reviewed International Journal for Equity in Health presented findings from a study based on secondary analysis of the data from two cross-sectional household health surveys conducted in Armavir marz in 2001 and 2004 to evaluate the impact of the US-Armenia community health partnership between the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Armavir Health Department.  The partnership was organized under the auspices of the American International Health Alliance and funded by the US Agency for International Development.

The study investigated the determinants of health status in the adult female population of Armavir marz between 2001-2004, a period of socio-economic transition in Armenia.  The analysis revealed that material deprivation was the most influential predictor of self-rated health with a strong inverse dose-response relationship (e.g., increased deprivation was associated with decreasing self-rated health). The set of independent predictors of poor self-rated health included also aspects of depression, low level of education, and having ever smoked.

Based on these findings, the authors, Anahit Demirchyan, MD, MPH, and Michael E. Thompson, MS, DrPH, concluded that “Social reforms to decrease the gap between the rich and poor could be the most powerful tool for reducing health inequalities and improving the health status of the population.”

According to an anonymous reviewer of this study, “This is a very well written and compelling empirical study of the impact of material deprivation on health. It is timely and of high policy relevance as it involves evaluating the changes in health accompanying government transitions. It makes an excellent contribution to the literature of the social determinants of health. It is highly policy relevant in terms of creating a rationale for international aid to protect health of populations during governmental transitions and upheavals.”

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