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Source of support, balance of support and health: a gender-focused cohort study from Finland

20 May 2010

Promotie: dhr. A.K.P. Väänänen, 14.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Proefschrift: Source of support, balance of support and health: a gender-focused cohort study from Finland

Promotor(s): prof.dr. A.P. Buunk, prof.dr. J. Vahtera, prof.dr. M. Kivimäki

Faculteit: Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen

Source of support, balance of support and health: a gender-focused cohort study from Finland

In order to improve individual well-being and ensure national productivity, we must identify distinctive factors contributing to health among the working-aged. It has become increasingly clear that modern work and domestic life are likely to influence the health and well-being of employees through various psychosocial pathways. In this dissertation, the impact of social relationships on women's health was examined in a series of cohort studies conducted in Finland (the total number of participants over 40 000 persons). In agreement with some earlier studies, it was found that women tend to benefit from certain specific social relationships and social dynamics experienced in close relationships. This research revealed that in particular, lack of support from a partner and low network heterogeneity are potential contributors to the impairment of health. Interestingly, women who also acted as support-providers in their close relationships were more likely to experience better health in the future whereas women who acted more as support-recipients or who were moving towards the role of support-recipient in their close relationships were at risk of developing subsequent health problems. To sum up, these large-scale datasets representing working-age Finnish women suggest that meaningful close social relationships, also entailing a sufficient amount of support provision, may increase the likelihood of better health over the course of time. Overall, the findings derived from these Finnish cohort studies provide novel gender-specific social psychological avenues for the health promotion of working-age people in western societies.

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.16 a.m.
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