Self-rated health status and health care utilization among immigrant and non-immigrant Israeli Jewish women

Women Health. 2001;34(3):53-69. doi: 10.1300/J013v34n03_04.

Abstract

Introduction: Since 1989, Israel has absorbed over 700,000 Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, among them about 375,000 women. Immigrants are known to have greater and/or different health needs than non-immigrant residents, and to face unique barriers to receiving care. However, research addressing the specific health problems of these immigrant women has been scarce.

Objectives: To compare self-reported health status and health care utilization patterns among immigrant and non-immigrant Israeli Jewish women; and to explore ways to overcome existing barriers to their care.

Methods: A telephone survey was conducted in September and October 1998 among a random national sample of women age 22 and over, using a standard questionnaire. In all, 849 interviews were completed, with a response rate of 84%. In this article we present comparative data from a sub-set that included 760 immigrant respondents from the former Soviet Union and non-immigrant Jewish respondents.

Results: A greater proportion of immigrant versus non-immigrant women reported poor perceived health status (17% vs. 4%), chronic disease (61% vs. 38%), disability (31% vs. 18%) and depressive mood symptoms (52% vs. 38%). Lower rates of immigrant women visited a gynecologist regularly (57% vs. 83%) and were satisfied with their primary care physician. Lower rates of immigrants reported discussing health promotion issues such as smoking, diet, physical activity, HRT, and calcium intake with their physician. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for designing services that will effectively promote immigrant women's health, both in Israel and elsewhere.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Jews / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Social Class
  • USSR / ethnology
  • Women's Health*