The Role of Social Support in the Relationship Between Financial Hardship and Multimorbidity

Social disadvantage is a key determinant of multimorbidity. Pathways through which social disadvantages lead to multimorbidity are yet undefined. In this blog, I will first examine the casual effect of moving into financial hardship amomg adults, and then the role of social support as a mediator of the relationship between financioal hardship and multimorbidity.

Data was obtained from the Household and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, (2009-2013). I identified individuals who moved into financial hardships between 2010 and 2011 (n=5775). Inverse probability treatment weighting with regression adjustment was used to examine the relationship between hardship and multimorbidity. Casual mediation analysis was applied to decompose the total effect of financial hardship on M.M. into the proportion attributtal to social support and the proportion not occurring through measured pathways. I accounted forbaseline covariates including sex, age, marital status, education, employment, income, country of birth and social support. Bootstrapping with 1000 replications was used to calculate 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Financial hardship can lead to a lot of problems…

The risk of M.M. was higher in those with financial hardship by 19% and absolute risk difference 0.036 than those without financial hardship. Social support accounted for 30% of the total effect of financial hardship on M.M., risk difference 0.009.

Financial hardship leads to increased risk of M.M. Interventions directed at increasing social support among those in financial hardship may reduce their risk of M.M.

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