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Association Between Social Pensions With Depression, Social, and Health Behaviors Among Poor Older Individuals in Colombia [Effects of income supplementation on health of the poor elderly: The case Artículo uri icon


  • Objectives: Many low- and middle-income countries have introduced social pensions to alleviate extreme poverty and improve the well-being of older individuals. However, evidence remains inconclusive about the potential effects of such programs on mental health, social, and health behaviors.MethodsData for individuals aged 60 or older came from the nationally representative Encuesta Nacional de Salud, Bienestar y Envejeciamiento survey in Colombia 2015 (N = 9,456). We used propensity score matching to estimate the association between the country’s social pension program (Colombia Mayor) with depression, self-rated health, food insecurity, alcohol consumption, social participation, and labor force participation.ResultsResults show that receiving the program does not significantly affect the likelihood of suffering from depression or self-rated health among either men or women. However, receiving the program is associated with significant reductions in the likelihood of experiencing food insecurity and significant increases in the likelihood of participating socially. Among women, receiving the program is associated with significant reduction in the likelihood of participating in the labor force.DiscussionThe absence of a measurable effect on depression and self-rated health may be explained, at least partly, by the program’s comparatively small cash benefit and the sharing of resources with other family members. Policymakers should assess possibilities to maximize the health and social benefits of social pensions.

fecha de publicación

  • 2021