Association between social support and utilization of preventive health care services by gender in the middle-aged population

Li Chin Lee, Hui Chuan Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Those of middle-age are at relatively high risk of morbidity from cancer and chronic diseases. Preventive health care services can effectively detect and treat these diseases at an early stage. Purpose: This study examined gender difference in factors related to preventive health care services (PHCS) utilization among middle-aged adults in Taiwan. This study focused in particular on factors related to social support and information accessibility. Methods: Data on 40-65 year olds were obtained from the 2001 National Health Interview Survey in Taiwan. A nine-item PHCS for the past year and another four examinations for women were used as dependent variables. Social support (marital status, living with family, getting support from friends) and information access were the main predictors, by controlling predisposing, enabling, and need factors. Logistic regression and multiple linear regression were used for analysis. Results: Women used PHCS more frequently than men, and women were more likely to check blood pressure and sugar and receive influenza vaccinations. Men who had a spouse were more likely to check lipoprotein (OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.065-1.843) and liver function (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.158-1.987). Women who had a spouse were more likely to take bone density tests (OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.035-1.683) and use papanicolaou (pap) smears (OR = 1.81, 95% CI = 1.443-2.276), while those who had better information access were more likely to take pap smears (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.010-1.535), breast ultrasonography (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.138-1.792), and mammography (OR = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.226-2.100). Having a spouse and better information access were related to using more PHCS items for women. Conclusions: Marital status and information accessibility are reinforcing factors for using PHCS in the middle-aged population. This trend is particularly pronounced in women. Government and clinical professionals should provide health education information and accessibility related to preventive care through the social networks of the target population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nursing and Healthcare Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Preventive health care services
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between social support and utilization of preventive health care services by gender in the middle-aged population'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this