Open Access Research article

The relationship between social support and self-reported health status in immigrants: an adjusted analysis in the Madrid Cross Sectional Study

Miguel Á Salinero-Fort1*, Laura del Otero-Sanz2, Carmen Martín-Madrazo3, Carmen de Burgos-Lunar4, Rosa M Chico-Moraleja5, Berta Rodés-Soldevila1, Rodrigo Jiménez-García6, Paloma Gómez-Campelo1 and HEALTH & MIGRATION Group

Author Affiliations

1 Fundación de Investigación Biomédica, Hospital Carlos III, (C/Sinesio Delgado, 10), Madrid (28029), Spain

2 Servicio de Medicina Preventiva, Hospital Universitario Insular-Materno Infantil, (Avda. Marítima del Sur, s/n), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (35016), Spain

3 Unidad de Docencia e Investigación, Dirección Técnica de Docencia e Investigación, (C/Espronceda, 24), Madrid (28003), Spain

4 Unidad de Epidemiología Clínica, Hospital Carlos III, (C/Sinesio Delgado, 10), Madrid (28029), Spain

5 Unidad de Medicina Interna, Hospital Central de la Defensa Gómez Ulla, (Glorieta del Ejército, s/n.), Madrid (28047), Spain

6 Departamento de Medicina Preventiva. Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, (Avda. de Atenas, s/n.), Alcorcón, Madrid (28922), Spain

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BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-46

Published: 8 June 2011



Social support is an important factor in the adaptation process of immigrants, helping for their integration in a new environment. The lack of social support may influence on well-being and health status. The aim of this study is to describe the social support of immigrant and native population and study the possible association between immigration and lack social support after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, income, stress and self-reported health status.


Cross-sectional population based study of immigrants and national patients without mental disorders of 15 urban primary health centers in the north-eastern area of Madrid. Participants provided information on social support, stress level, perceived health status and socio-economic characteristics. Descriptive and multiple logistic regression were conducted.


The proportion of the global perception of social support among immigrants and natives was 79.2% and 94.2%, respectively. The lack of global social support adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) of immigrant was 2.72 (95% Confidence Interval = 1.81-4.09), showing a significant association with being male (PR = 2.26), having monthly income below 500 euros (PR = 3.81) and suffering stress (PR = 1.94). For the dimensions of lack of social support the higher association was being an immigrant and suffering stress.


We conclude that with regardless of the level of monthly income, stress level, self-reported health status, and gender, immigrant status is directly associated with lack social support. The variable most strongly associated with lack social support has been monthly income below 500 euros.

Social Support; Health Status Disparities; Immigrants; Spain