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International Journal for Equity in Health

, 14:62

First Online: 05 August 2015Received: 05 February 2015Accepted: 21 July 2015DOI: 10.1186-s12939-015-0194-7

Cite this article as: Hamad, R. & Fernald, L.C.H. Int J Equity Health 2015 14: 62. doi:10.1186-s12939-015-0194-7


IntroductionSocial and economic conditions are powerful determinants of women’s health status. Microcredit, which involves the provision of small loans to low-income women in the hopes of improving their living conditions, is an increasingly popular intervention to improve women’s socioeconomic status. Studies examining the health effects of microcredit programs have had mixed results.

MethodsWe conduct a cross-sectional study among female clients of a non-profit microcredit program in Peru N = 1,593. The predictor variable is length of microcredit participation. We conduct bivariate and multivariate linear regressions to examine the associations between length of microcredit participation and a variety of measures of women’s health. We control for participants’ sociodemographic characteristics.

ResultsWe find that longer participation is associated with decreased depressive symptoms, increased social support, and increased perceived control, but these differences are attenuated with the inclusion of covariates. We find no association between length of participation and contraception use, cancer screening, or self-reported days sick.

ConclusionsThese results demonstrate a positive association between length of microcredit participation and measures of women’s psychological health, but not physical health. These findings contribute to the discussion on the potential of microcredit programs to address the socioeconomic determinants of health, and suggest that addressing socioeconomic status may be a key way to improve women’s health worldwide.

KeywordsMicrocredit Poverty alleviation Women’s health Socioeconomic determinants of health Latin America Peru AbbreviationsCES-DCenter for Epidemiologic Studies – Depression scale

LMICLow- and middle-income countries

PCPrincipal components

RCTRandomized controlled trial

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Author: Rita Hamad - Lia C. H. Fernald

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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