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ECPR Virtual General Conference 2020

Feeling Healthy, Strong and Influential in Society – An Explorative Study of Self-reported Health and Political Efficacy among Older Adults in the Ostrobothnia Region

Political Participation
Political Sociology
Political Engagement
Survey Research
Susanne Jungerstam
Novia University of Applied Sciences
Susanne Jungerstam
Novia University of Applied Sciences

The aim of the Paper is to determine how subjective (self-reported) assessment of health is related to political efficacy among older adults (65-80 years of age) in the Ostrobothnia region in Finland.

The study takes its starting point in the understanding that health is related to political engagement, including different aspects of internal and external efficacy, as well as to political behavior. Political efficacy is operationalized as a sense of being strong and influential in society, whereas political knowledge, engagement and behavior are, similar to older adults’ assessment of health, studied as independent variables related to the sense of being strong and influential.

Data is retrieved from the GERontological DAta base GERDA, collected in the Ostrobothnia and Västerbotten regions as a postal survey to older adults aged 65, 70, 75 and 80 at the time of the survey (2010). In this study, only the Finnish data is used (n=3059, response rate 58%)

Preliminary results confirm previous research in as much as the study indicates that there is a comparatively strong correlation between older adults’ feeling of being strong and influential and their self-reported health, as well as with some of the other dimensions of political efficacy included in the study. Logistic regression analysis also confirms the relevance of different dimensions of political engagement, as well as of a subjective assessment of good health, in respect of feeling strong and influential in society.
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