Document Type : Original article
Department of Biostatistics, Infertility Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Community Based Psychiatric Care Research Center, Department of Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Department of Biostatistics, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Family Health Unit, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Background: There are critical gaps in assessment and research on health among the elderly living in rural communities. The state of aging and health in rural areas provides a snapshot of our older adults’s need to necessary public health measures .The aim of this study was to determine the self-rated general health of adults residing in rural areas and compare the general health of the elderly with younger adults.Methods: In this population based study using multistage random sampling, 2259 adults aged (≥15 years old) were selected from rural areas of Shiraz, southern Iran. The participants were divided into three age groups: young adults (15-39 years old n=1574), middle aged adults (40-59 years old, n=530), and the elderly (≥60 years of age, n-155). Data were gathered using a translated version of the general health questionnaire (GHQ-28) and analyzed using Chi-square, one-way ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis tests and ANCOVA analysis. SPSS software, version 16, was used for analysis.Results: 34.8%, 31.6%, 52.3% and 7.7% of the elderly had a probable mental disorder in the somatization, anxiety, social dysfunction and depression categories, respectively. Moreover, 9.7, 7.1, 3.9 and 4.5% of the elderly had a severe mental disorder in the four mentioned subscales, respectively. Compared with younger adults, the elderly showed a significantly higher disorder in all subscales except for anxiety.Conclusion: Our findings showed that chronic disease had a great effect on general health. Screening programs and prevention of chronic disease by the newly established family physician in rural districts can improve the overall community health.