Social and physical environments and self-rated health in urban and rural communities in Korea

Jung A. Lee, Jong Heon Park, Myung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the associations between social and physical environments and self-rated health (SRH) for urban and rural Korean adults, using data from the Korean Community Health Survey (KCHS) of 199,790 participants (115,454 urban and 84,336 rural). The main dependent variable was SRH, while the primary independent variables were social and physical characteristics. Urban residents reported better SRH than did rural residents. Five social environmental variables (trust of neighbors, residence in the area for over 20 years, exchanging help with neighbors, friend and fellowship activities, contact with relatives and neighbors over five times per month) were more prevalent among rural residents. Satisfaction with physical environment was more common among rural residents, but satisfaction with traffic and healthcare facilities was more common among urban areas. After adjusting for relevant factors, positive associations between SRH and trust of neighbors, exchanging help with neighbors, participation in social activities or organizations, and physical environment existed in both rural and urban populations. Also, in both areas, there was no demonstrated association between SRH and years of residence or frequency of contact with relatives. Our findings suggest the existence of an association between social and physical factors and perceived health status among the general population of Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14329-14341
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 12 Nov 2015


  • Rural
  • SRH
  • Social and physical environment
  • Urban


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