Elderly people's ratings of the importance of health-related factors to their self-assessments of health

Yael Benyamini, Elaine A. Leventhal, Howard Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identifying the bases for self-assessed health (SAH) has interested researchers in their attempts to understand its validity as a predictor of future health outcomes. Quantitative approaches typically used statistical methods to identify correlates of SAH while qualitative approaches asked people to elaborate on the reasons underlying their rating of health. The current study used a quantitative methodology, asking 487 elderly people to rate the importance of 42 health-related factors as bases for their SAH judgment. Factors indicating overall functioning/vitality were rated highly by all participants. Factors indicating current disease were rated highly by people reporting poor/fair SAH while risk factors and positive indicators were rated highly by those reporting good, very good, or excellent health. Thus, there seems to be a clear distinction between poor and fair SAH that reflect levels of illness, and higher levels of SAH that reflect levels of health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1661-1667
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume56
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Self-rated health
  • Subjective health

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