Article | Open Access
Social Exclusion and Mental Wellbeing in Older Romanians
Abstract: In Romania, inequalities in health and wellbeing between younger and older Romanians are substantial, and an important reason for inequalities may be the higher risk of social exclusion among older adults. After the fall of Communism in 1989, the many transformations in economic structures and welfare regimes contributed to enhanced levels of social exclusion, in particular among the older generations. Social exclusion is a multidimensional problem with substantial effects on the mental wellbeing of people. The present study examines age differences in mental wellbeing and evaluates to what extent differences can be explained by age and social exclusion, while controlling for a number of potential confounders. Data are from the fourth wave (2016) of the European Quality of Life Survey. Data for Romania include 1004 people aged between 18 and 85 years old, of which 726 are included in the analyses (only complete cases). In the study sample, 259 were 55 years or older. Mental wellbeing was measured with The World Health Organization Wellbeing Index (WHO-5 scale), and social exclusion was measured in four domains: social relations, material resources, services and the neighbourhood. The results show that older Romanians have a statistically significant lower mental wellbeing than younger generations in Romania. All domains of social exclusion were associated with lower levels of mental wellbeing. These effects remained statistically significant after controlling for partner status, chronic diseases, having children, and level of education. Improving mental wellbeing of older Romanians would greatly benefit from increasing social inclusion by means of social transfers provided by the government, improving the neighbourhood and access to services, and providing facilities to enhance the social network.
Keywords: ageing; mental wellbeing; post-Communist welfare; social exclusion; Romania
© Iuliana Precupetu, Marja Aartsen, Marian Vasile. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.