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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


In Israel, as in other developed countries, mental health problems are common among older adults who are members of disadvantaged ethnic minorities that are experiencing cultural and social changes. The main goals of the current study were: (a) to examine gender differences in the levels of psychological distress and social support among Bedouin elders, and (b) to examine the moderating role of gender in the associations between social support indices and psychological distress. We used a cross-sectional design, and independent t-tests and hierarchical linear regression analysis were performed. The study was conducted in homes and in social clubs and community centers for elderly people and involved face-to-face interviews and self-administered questionnaires. A convenience sample of 170 Bedouin Arab elderly people living in Israel participated in the study. Participants completed self-report questionnaires that assessed psychological distress, perceived social support, instrumental social support, and socio-demographic characteristics. Male elders reported lower levels of psychological distress and higher levels of instrumental support. Female elders, who reported low levels of both perceived and instrumental support, also reported higher levels of psychological distress. Among the women, there were significant associations between psychological distress and perceived social support, and instrumental support only when the levels of support were low. This study underscores the moderating role of gender in the associations between different types of social support and psychological distress among elderly people belonging to ethnic and cultural underprivileged minority groups.


Bedouin Arabs, elderly, instrumental support, perceived social support, psychological distress










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