Social determinants of health for older women in Canada: does rural-urban residency matter?

This study provided an exploratory analysis of key social determinants of health for older Canadian women, with a focus on differences between rural and urban residency, given that socio-economic status (SES) and social capital have been shown to differ by rural-urban residence. Secondary analysis was conducted using the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Survey. A comparative logistic regression analysis revealed, unexpectedly, that SES and social capital variables were more strongly associated with the health status of urban older women than for the health status of their rural counterparts. Associations between health status measures and household income, food insecurity, and community belonging were largely not supported among rural women, but were for their urban counterparts. Findings are discussed concerning applications of the social-determinants-of-health model for explaining health patterns among older urban and rural women. Cost of living, access to health services, and dimensions of rural culture are discussed as potential explanations.