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Comparing self-rated health and self-assessed change in health in a longitudinal survey: Which is more valid?

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  • Gunasekara, Fiona Imlach
  • Carter, Kristie
  • Blakely, Tony
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    Abstract

    Self-rated health (SRH) is commonly used in longitudinal analyses as a repeated outcome measure. This assumes that computed changes in SRH over time truly represent within-individual changes in underlying health. The longitudinal validity of SRH, however, is threatened by ceiling effects (where people reporting the highest level of SRH cannot report subsequent improved health), insensitivity to small changes within SRH categories, reference group effects (where individuals assess their health changes relative to their peers) and stability in SRH even when change in underlying health is occurring. We assessed the longitudinal validity of SRH by comparing computed changes in SRH with a measure of self-assessed change in health (SACH). We used two waves of data (2003–2005) from the New Zealand longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE). Computed change in SRH and SACH were compared directly and also in regression models using an objective measure of health outcome change (hospitalisations within the past year).

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 7 ()
    Pages: 1117-1124

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:7:p:1117-1124

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    Related research

    Keywords: New Zealand; Self-rated health; Self-assessed change in health; Longitudinal survey; Longitudinal validity; Survey of family; income and employment;

    References

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    1. Doreen Wing Han Au & Thomas F. Crossley & Martin Schellhorn, 2005. "The Effect of Health Changes and Long-term Health on the Work Activity of Older Canadians," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers, McMaster University 134, McMaster University.
    2. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2003. "Does inequality in self-assessed health predict inequality in survival by income? Evidence from Swedish data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1621-1629, November.
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    11. Janelle Seymour & Paul McNamee & Anthony Scott & Michela Tinelli, 2010. "Shedding new light onto the ceiling and floor? A quantile regression approach to compare EQ-5D and SF-6D responses," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 683-696.
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    13. Gunasekara, Fiona Imlach & Carter, Kristie & Blakely, Tony, 2011. "Change in income and change in self-rated health: Systematic review of studies using repeated measures to control for confounding bias," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 193-201, January.
    14. McDonough, Peggy & Worts, Diana & Sacker, Amanda, 2010. "Socioeconomic inequalities in health dynamics: A comparison of Britain and the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 251-260, January.
    15. Perruccio, Anthony V. & Badley, Elizabeth M. & Hogg-Johnson, Sheilah & Davis, Aileen M., 2010. "Characterizing self-rated health during a period of changing health status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(9), pages 1636-1643, November.
    16. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    17. Bailis, Daniel S. & Segall, Alexander & Chipperfield, Judith G., 2003. "Two views of self-rated general health status," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 203-217, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Jürges, Hendrik, 2012. "Do workers underreport morbidity? The accuracy of self-reports of chronic conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1589-1594.

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