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Health status and participation in a range of activities in an Australian community

Savage, Sally, Bailey, Susan and O`Connell, Beverly 2003, Health status and participation in a range of activities in an Australian community, Rural and remote health, vol. 3, no. 154, pp. 1-12.

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Title Health status and participation in a range of activities in an Australian community
Author(s) Savage, Sally
Bailey, Susan
O`Connell, Beverly
Journal name Rural and remote health
Volume number 3
Issue number 154
Start page 1
End page 12
Publisher Australia Rural Health Education Network
Place of publication Deakin, A.C.T.
Publication date 2003-02-11
ISSN 1445-6354
Keyword(s) health
participation
social capital
Summary Introduction: The aim of the research was to determine the relationship between levels of participation in a community and self-assessed health status of people in a rural and regional setting.
Method: A cross-sectional design, using a mailed, self-administered questionnaire was used. Questionnaires were mailed to a random sample of people aged 18 years and over who were registered on the electoral roll of a regional city and rural area, the Barwon and Otway regions of Victoria, Australia. The sample consisted of 1752 participants: 990 females (57%), 739 males (42%) and 23 sex undisclosed (1%). The range of participants was 18-98 years, and the mean age was 50.53 years (SD = 17.19).
Results: Self-assessed physical and mental health were measured using the SF-12 scale. Participants with low incomes, and those with low self-assessed physical and mental health scores, were significantly more likely than other participants to agree with one or more of the social isolation items, indicating that they experienced some social isolation. Low levels of participation in social, sports, leisure or support activities were associated with low self-assessed physical and mental health. Disengagement with the local community was associated with low levels of self-assessed mental health. While younger people were more likely than older people to participate in social, sports, leisure or support activities, they were less involved as members of their community. Females were more likely than males to have been involved in five or more sports, leisure or support activities. Participation in civic activities was associated with high income. Levels of participation in the four different types of activities were combined (social activities, sport, leisure or support activities, community and group activities, and civic activities). Participants classified as low participators were more likely to be older participants, to have a low income and to have low scores for both physical and mental health.
Conclusions: An association was found between health and community participation in a range of activities, and between health and engagement with the community in this rural and regional population. These findings are consistent with those reported from similar research with a metropolitan population sample. The current research suggests that the groups of people of most concern in terms of low participation rates, are people who have low incomes, people aged over 65 years, people who may be defined as possessing poor physical health and people who may be defined as possessing poor mental health. The relationship between age, community participation and health is complex and needs further exploration because it is not known whether poor health reduces community participation or whether reduced community participation results in poor health. However, current research suggests that developing and implementing strategies to promote people's engagement with and involvement in their local community is one important way of promoting the health of the community as a whole.
Notes Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 111717 Primary Health Care
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2003, Savage, S Bailey, S O'Connell, B
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30002207

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.