Predictors of Poor Self-rated Health in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Insights from a Cross-sectional Survey

L. Mlangeni1, *, M. Mabaso2, L. Makola2, K. Zuma2
1 Department of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 238 Mazisi Kunene Road, Glenwood, Durban, 4041, South Africa
2 HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB Research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Durban, 4001, South Africa

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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Mlangeni et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 238 Mazisi Kunene Road, Glenwood, Durban, 4041, South Africa; Tel: +27 79 828 542 2; Email:



The association between Self-Rated Health (SRH) and poor health outcomes is well established. Economically and socially marginalized individuals have been shown to be more likely to have poor SRH. There are few representative studies that assess the factors that influence SRH amongst individuals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study assessed factors associated with poor self-rated health amongst individuals from KwaZulu-Natal using data from the 2012 South African national household survey.


The 2012 South African population-based nationally representative household survey employed a multi-stage stratified cluster randomised crossectional design. Multivariate backward stepwise logistic regression models were used to determine whether SRH is significantly influenced by socio-demographic and health-related factors.


Out of a total of 5192 participants living in KZN, 18.1% reported having fair/poor SRH. In the multivariate logistic regression model the increased likelihood of reporting fair/poor was significantly associated with being older, HIV positive, being an excessive drinker, and not having medical aid. The decreased likelihood of reporting fair/poor was associated with being educated, not having a chronic condition, being physically active, being employed, and not accessing care regularly.


This study has shown that marginalized individuals are more likely to have poorer SRH. Greater efforts need to be made to ensure that these individuals are brought into the fold through education, job opportunities, health insurance, social support services for poor living conditions, and poor well-being including services for substance abusers.

Keywords: Self-rated health, Cross-sectional survey, Inequalities, Epidemiology, Population-based, Stepwise regression.