The impact of pensions on health and wellbeing in rural South Africa: Does gender matter?

Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. Electronic address: .
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.89). 07/2012; 75(10):1864-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.004
Source: PubMed


Unique to Africa, a means-tested non-contributory pension is available to South Africans. In 2006, women over 60 and men over 65 were pension-eligible. To explore the effect of the pension for health and wellbeing indicators of rural South African men and women, we analyze data from the WHO-INDEPTH Study of Global Ageing and Adult Health Survey, carried out in the Agincourt sub-district by the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) in 2006. Because pension receipt was not measured directly, our findings represent intent-to-treat (ITT) rather than treatment-on-the-treated (TOT) effects using age as an indicator for intent-to-treat. Overall, women report poorer wellbeing compared to men. However, women have a "honeymoon" period at ages 60-64, the first years of pension-eligibility, in which they report lower levels of worry and sadness, and higher overall happiness, life satisfaction, and quality of life as compared to younger and older women. For men, in contrast, reports of wellbeing worsen in the pre-pension years, followed by a similar but not as prominent pattern of favorable reports in the five years following pension-eligibility, and a decline in the next five-year period. Thus, while pensions continue to enhance financial wellbeing, our results suggest that their effect on social wellbeing may be gendered and transitory. Further research is needed to improve understanding of these dynamics.

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    • "Studies have found a U-shaped relationship between age and happiness (Blanchflower and Oswald, 2008; De Ree and Alessie, 2011; Schatz et al., 2012). Thus, it is hypothesized that happiness level would be higher for younger individuals and older individuals but lower for middle–aged individuals. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine happiness and social determinants across age cohorts in Taiwan. The data were obtained from the 2011 Taiwan Social Change Survey (aged 18 +, n = 2,199). The social determinants of happiness included socioeconomic status and social connection. Happiness was not different across the age groups. Receiving less family support, less formal support, more social trust and more control over life were significant for the younger group. Being married and having more social participation were significant for the middle-aged. Receiving less family support and having a higher economic status were significant for the older group. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Journal of Health Psychology 01/2015; DOI:10.1177/1359105314567208 · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    • "The pension , about US$150 per month, is generally pooled and used to sustain the entire household rather than sole use by the pensioner (Case & Deaton, 1998). Pension receipt improves the health and well-being of both the pensioner and other members of the household (Ardington et al., 2010; Schatz et al., 2012) but also may reduce the likelihood of other adults being employed (Bertrand et al., 2003). This suggests that pensioners might be attractive household members and thus more likely than those not yet pension eligible to be living in multigenerational households and playing a productive role in those households. "
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    ABSTRACT: South Africa's population is aging. Most of the older Black South Africans continue to live in extended household structures with children, grandchildren, and other kin. They also constitute a source of income through a means-tested noncontributory state-funded pension available at age 60. Using census data from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System in 2000, 2005, and 2010, we develop a typology of living arrangements that is reflective of the social positioning of elderly persons as dependent or productive household members and analyze changes in the distribution over time. Older persons, in general, live in large, complex, and multigenerational households. Multigenerational households with "productive" older persons are increasing in proportion over the period, although there are few differences by gender or pension eligibility at any time point. © The Author(s) 2014.
    Research on Aging 08/2014; 37(6). DOI:10.1177/0164027514545976 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recurring food crises endanger the livelihoods of millions of households in developing countries around the globe. Owing to the importance of this issue, we explored recent changes in food security between the years 2004 and 2010 in a rural district in Northeastern South Africa. Our study window spans the time of the 2008 global food crisis and allows the investigation of its impacts on rural South African populations. Grounded in the sustainable livelihood framework, we examined differences in food security trajectories among vulnerable sub populations. A unique panel data set of 8,147 households, provided by the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System (Agincourt HDSS), allowed us to employ a longitudinal multilevel modeling approach to estimate adjusted growth curves for the differential changes in food security across time. We observed an overall improvement in food security that leveled off after 2008, most likely resulting from the global food crisis. In addition, we discovered significant differences in food security trajectories for various sub populations. For example, female-headed households and those living in areas with better access to natural resources differentially improved their food security situation, compared to male-headed households and those households with lower levels of natural resource access. However, former Mozambican refugees witnessed a decline in food security. Therefore, poverty alleviation programs for the Agincourt region should work to improve the food security of vulnerable households, such as former Mozambican refugees.
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