The effect of empowerment/self determination on population health
University of New Brunswick
In the face of the growing gap in health within and between populations, health promotion models have focused on the healthcare system, and more recently the social determinants of health. A less explored idea is the effect of empowerment/self-determination on health. Using published cross-country data and the “general-to-specific” (GETS) algorithm implemented in PcGets (Hendry and Krolzig, 2001), this study found that one standard deviation increase in the level of empowerment is associated with a 0.17 standard deviation increase in all life expectancy, a 0.61 standard deviation increase in female life expectancy, a 0.14 standard deviation decrease in infant mortality, and a 0.09 standard deviation decrease in under 5 mortality; and one standard deviation increase in the level of empowerment is associated with a 0.18 standard deviation increase in all life expectancy, a 0.67 standard deviation increase in female life expectancy, a 0.16 standard deviation increase in male life expectancy, and a 0.2 standard deviation decrease in infant mortality (using political rights and civil liberties freedom respectively) while controlling for wealth, education and income inequality (p ≤ 0.05).