Open Access Open Badges Research article

Social support for women of reproductive age and its predictors: a population-based study

Azam Baheiraei12, Mojgan Mirghafourvand3*, Eesa Mohammadi4, Sakineh Mohammad-Alizadeh Charandabi3 and Saharnaz Nedjat5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Reproductive Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Centers for Community-Based Participatory Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

4 Department of Nursing, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

5 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Women's Health 2012, 12:30  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-30

Published: 18 September 2012



Social support is an exchange of resources between at least two individuals perceived by the provider or recipient to be intended to promote the health of the recipient. Social support is a major determinant of health. The objective of this study was to determine the perceived social support and its associated sociodemographic factors among women of reproductive age.


This was a population-based cross-sectional study with multistage random cluster sampling of 1359 women of reproductive age. Data were collected using questionnaires on sociodemographic factors and perceived social support (PRQ85-Part 2). The relationship between the dependent variable (perceived social support) and the independent variables (sociodemographic characteristics) was analyzed using the multivariable linear regression model.


The mean score of social support was 134.3 ± 17.9. Women scored highest in the “worth” dimension and lowest in the “social integration” dimension. Multivariable linear regression analysis indicated that the variables of education, spouse’s occupation, Sufficiency of income for expenses and primary support source were significantly related to the perceived social support.


Sociodemographic factors affect social support and could be considered in planning interventions to improve social support for Iranian women.