Gender, Pensions, and Social Wellbeing in Rural South Africa

Enid Schatz, University of Missouri at Columbia
Xavier Gómez-Olivé, University of the Witwatersrand
Jane Menken, University of Colorado at Boulder
Stephen Tollman, University of the Witwatersrand
Margaret L. Ralston, University of Missouri at Columbia

We explore relationships of sex and age to measures of social well-being among persons aged 50+ in a high HIV-prevalence area of rural South Africa. Older South Africans' HIV-infection rates are low; AIDS affects them primarily through illness of adult children and caregiving for the next generations. In addition, high levels of unemployment and poverty and increasing rates of non-communicable disease may decrease overall social well-being. Due to gendered roles, women often have greater caregiving burdens; and pre-pension eligible (under age 60) elders have fewer financial resources on which they and their kin can rely. Using WHO-Study of Global Aging survey data from the MRC/Wits Rural Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), we consider multiple social well-being indicators. We hypothesize that social well-being is lower among women compared to men and among pre-pension-eligible compared to pension-eligible adults; further there may be an interaction with family experience with AIDS.

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Presented in Session 85: Cross-National Studies of Adult Health and Mortality using SAGE and INDEPTH data