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Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(5):475-80.

Types of cultural capital and self-rated health among disadvantaged women in outer Beirut, Lebanon.

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Center for Research on Population and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.



This study extends research on the social determinants of health by exploring the association between a new, potentially very significant dimension, cultural capital by type, and self-rated health among low-income women living in outer Beirut, Lebanon.


Self-rated general health was assessed using household data from a cross-sectional survey of 1869 women, conducted in 2003. Three types of cultural capital were included: watching cultural TV programs, producing art (e.g. drawing, theatre performance), and consuming art or literature (e.g. attending exhibitions, reading literary books). Associations between self-rated health status and types of cultural capital were assessed using odds ratios from binary logistic regression models.


With the exception of art production, lack of cultural capital increased the odds of self-perceived poor health status adjusting for sociodemographics and other risk factors. The adjusted odds ratios were 1.86 (95% CI 1.07-3.22) for not watching cultural TV programs and 1.52 (95% CI 1.12-2.06) for not consuming art. As expected, health-risk factors, age, social support, and community of residence were also associated with health status.


Two types of cultural capital were strong predictors of self-perceived health status among women living in poor urban communities, regardless of social capital, income, and other relevant risk factors.

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