Women’s Self-Care Behavior and Its Relationship to Social Capital in Yazd, Iran | BMC Women’s Health


Social capital is an important determinant of the health of the population [18, 37, 38]. It can influence self-care behavior through several possible causal mechanisms, including the influence of social cohesion on health-related behaviors, differential procurement of social benefits, access to resources such as emotional and material support, health information generated by social networks, and variations in access of the individual to life opportunities and material resources (e.g. health care, education) [39, 40]. In addition, there are factors such as socio-economic factors (e.g. inequality), social network structures (e.g. homogeneity, density) and characteristics of the network connection (e.g. frequency of contact, strong / weak connection, reciprocity) that determine the nature of what is formed Social capital and the health behavior of the individual [38]. Given the importance of this topic, the aim of the present study was to examine the explanatory role social capital played in the self-care behavior of women living in the outskirts, central and upper neighborhoods of Yazd.

The results of our study showed that the level of self-care among women in the outskirts, central and upper boroughs of Yazd was above average, and women in the upper parts were higher than the women who lived in live in the peripheral and central areas (P.

Self-care behavior in different classes and groups is the result of a series of decisions a person makes based on their social status and life chances. Indeed, from Weber’s point of view, self-care behavior is the result of a dialectical relationship between life chances and lifestyle. Life opportunities are viewed as a form of structure that essentially reflects the status of one’s own social class and weakens and restricts their options. In other words, those layers of society that have a good chance in life will be able to participate in physical activities, have more opportunities to relax and eat healthier foods. Those strata of society (for example, those living on the fringes) that do not occupy a good position in the social classification will, however, perform less well because of the limitations that bring them poor life chances [41]. According to the results of the present study and the relevant studies [41, 42], it seems that the position of the individual in social situations plays an important role in the possibility or impossibility of healthy performance in his behavior. In the present study, too, the social capital of women in the peripheral, middle and upper districts of Yazd was above average and the women in the central districts had the highest and women in the peripheral districts had the lowest level of social capital (P.

In Bourdieu’s view, social capital is unfairly distributed among social classes and inextricably linked to economic and other resources in an intensifying cycle, so that social capital can continue to contribute to inequalities [43].

Indeed, it is the social class that influences the degree to which individuals have access to social capital. For example, people in the lower strata of society, forced to live on the fringes due to a lack of adequate economic opportunities, often have a lower level of education and do not participate in many social and cultural affairs. Even under the influence of experiences with widespread inequalities in society, they have developed a kind of pessimism about other matters and therefore have low social confidence. Hence, their social capital is below that of other people in society who have a better social class and better way of life. In contrast to this, people in the middle and upper part will be able to have constructive social relationships with others due to their university degree, better jobs and higher income and, due to a co-determination spirit, will have the opportunity to spend their free time with friends, extensive civic engagement, participation in social and Career planning and fun with the group. Each of these is an example of social capital.

Our results are in line with previous studies that also confirm a significant effect of social capital on self-care (β = 0.56, P.

Social capital consists of different dimensions, one of which is the social network, which plays an important role in people’s health. The number of support networks and the quality of interpersonal communication on these networks can affect different aspects of people’s lifestyles. For example, people who join valuable social networks are less likely to have abnormal social behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption [45]. It plays a role in both maintaining the individual’s physical self-care and promoting their social and psychological self-care by receiving emotional and social support from network members and changing people’s attitudes and behaviors towards various issues as a result of constructive interactions with others . In addition, social capital can influence people’s self-care behavior through local norms. For example, people who live in a particular community are influenced by the behavioral norms of those around them. That is, if neighbors are regularly physically active (e.g. jogging, cycling), this can increase the likelihood of their participation in physical exercises [46].

In addition, the scientific evidence shows that in order to achieve the desired level of self-care in women, a number of frameworks (e.g. [47]. From Bourdieu’s perspective, women’s self-care behavior is the product of their acquired habits in the social situations in which they find themselves. In fact, their self-care behavior is determined by the resources available to them (e.g. social capital and environmental conditions). These are among the basic requirements for realizing self-care behavior.

When the field (the place where women live) is mentioned, it emphasizes both the class position and the environmental and social characteristics of the field, which are a kind of resource, since in a given environmental situation a person is exposed to certain social conditions and environmental factors that shape their behavior [48]. Social capital, as one of the resources in this field, plays an important role in shaping behavioral tendencies in women’s self-care. According to Bourdieu, women choose to care for themselves, but they do not have full freedom to do so. Their choice is limited by the strong influence of the resources available in the field (such as social capital and environmental conditions) [42]. The resources available in this area indicate the possibility of self-care strategies in women by shaping the mental habits (tastes and desires) of women in the upper, middle, and outskirts of the city.

The residents of the upper parts of the city not only have greater economic capital, but also have opportunities, especially social capital, to set themselves apart from others. The higher social capital of women in the upper parts of the city provides them with a good background for constructive social relationships and access to information and emotional support. In this way, the women will be able to improve their health behaviors depending on the type of information and emotional support and even the type of social network they belong to. The environmental conditions are also of particular social importance and, through the provision of suitable opportunities such as the desired leisure-cultural atmosphere, can play a decisive role in shaping the nature and nature of female social capital and influencing women’s self-sufficiency. In addition, a safe neighborhood can be a good opportunity for women to get inside and do some physical activity. In this way, women can gain emotional support and constructive social interaction in order to perform better in terms of their self-care [49, 50].

It should be noted that there are disruptive factors that can influence the effect of social capital on self-care behavior. In the present study, for example, socio-economic conditions have influenced individual social capital and are therefore viewed as disruptive factors [44]. Therefore, the upper, middle and peripheral areas of the city have been divided according to economic and social characteristics in order to neutralize the effects of disruptive factors.

Our results showed no significant difference between the average self-care behavior of employed and inactive women living in the upper, middle, and suburbs (P.0.05). Similarly, Atashpeikar et al. [51] also showed that there is no significant difference between the self-sufficiency of the employed and the inactive. On the contrary, Tabrizi et al. [52] showed that there is a significant difference between the person’s ability to be self-sufficient and their employment status. This finding can partly be interpreted according to the cultural realities of Iranian society. There appears to be a counterbalance to the positive and negative effects of work or inactivity on self-care behavior [53]. Job opportunities, for example, have a major impact on women’s self-care behavior by expanding their social interactions, social support, financial independence, and improving their knowledge and skills [29]. Of course, these opportunities are created when the work environment and conditions are suitable for women, because the mismatch (incompatibility) between person and work environment and even the experience of inequality in the workplace lead to stress and less life satisfaction for women. On the other hand, housewives can spend more time with their family members because they are solely responsible for the household, do not have stress at work, do not have to endure conflicts between family and work and have more time to relax. You can therefore take better care of yourself. Thus, whether women are gainfully employed or not in employment creates a situation that has a positive effect on the self-sufficiency behavior of both groups.

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