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Self-rated health and survival: A 7-year follow-up study of Australian elderly


  • McCallum, J.
  • Shadbolt, B.
  • Wang, D.


Objectives. This study tested the hypothesis, from North American findings, that global self-ratings of health predict survival for older Australians. Methods. A stratified sample of Australians 60 years of age and older surveyed in 1981 was resurveyed in 1988. Cox proportional hazard general linear models were constructed separately for men and women to predict survival over 7 years. Results. Better self-ratings of health had an incremental association with survival for women, but only men with poor ratings had significantly worse survival than others. After major illnesses, comorbidities, disability, depression, and social support were controlled for, poor ratings of health for both men and women were not significantly different from excellent ratings in predicting survival. Only women's good and fair health ratings remained significant predictors. Conclusions. People rate their health as poor on the objective basis of illness and disability. Australian findings show gender differences relative to North American results; methodological differences and site and gender variability in health profiles are discussed as reasons for the varying results.

Suggested Citation

  • McCallum, J. & Shadbolt, B. & Wang, D., 1994. "Self-rated health and survival: A 7-year follow-up study of Australian elderly," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 84(7), pages 1100-1105.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:7:1100-1105_7

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    1. Yörük, Barış K., 2014. "Does giving to charity lead to better health? Evidence from tax subsidies for charitable giving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 71-83.
    2. Neil J. Buckley & Frank T. Denton & A. Leslie Robb & Byron G. Spencer, 2006. "Socio-economic Influences on the Health of Older Canadians: Estimates Based on Two Longitudinal Surveys," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 32(1), pages 59-84, March.
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    4. Sofia Xesfingi & Dimitrios Karamanis & Alexandra Kechrinioti, 2020. "Subjective Health Status and Immigration: Evidence across Europe," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 70(1-2), pages 3-19, January-J.
    5. Chen, Linkun & Clarke, Philip M. & Petrie, Dennis J. & Staub, Kevin E., 2021. "The effects of self-assessed health: Dealing with and understanding misclassification bias," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    6. Leonardo Becchetti & Davide Bellucci, 2021. "Generativity, aging and subjective well-being," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 68(2), pages 141-184, June.
    7. Buckley, Neil J. & Denton, Frank T. & Leslie Robb, A. & Spencer, Byron G., 2004. "The transition from good to poor health: an econometric study of the older population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1013-1034, September.
    8. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "On Ageing, Health and Poverty in Rural India," ASARC Working Papers 2009-14, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    9. Emmanuelle Piérard, 2016. "The effect of health care expenditures on self-rated health status and the Health Utility Index: Evidence from Canada," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 1-21, March.
    10. Cai, Lixin, 2010. "The relationship between health and labour force participation: Evidence from a panel data simultaneous equation model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 77-90, January.
    11. Young-Ho Khang & Hye Kim, 2010. "Self-rated health and mortality: gender- and age-specific contributions of explanatory factors in South Korea," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 55(4), pages 279-289, August.
    12. Laure Sabatier & Spencer Moore, 2015. "Do Our Friends and Relatives Help Us Better Assess Our Health? Examining the Role of Social Networks in the Correspondence Between Self-Rated Health and Having Metabolic Syndrome," SAGE Open, , vol. 5(3), pages 21582440156, September.
    13. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self‐assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334, March.
    14. Lixin Cai & Guyonne Kalb, 2007. "Health status and labour force status of older working-age Australian men," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 10(4), pages 227-252.
    15. Pascual-Sáez, Marta & Cantarero-Prieto, David & Lanza-León, Paloma, 2019. "The dynamics of health poverty in Spain during the economic crisis (2008–2016)," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(10), pages 1011-1018.
    16. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "Labor force participation among Indian elderly: does health matter?," MPRA Paper 15394, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. William M Reichmann & Jeffrey N Katz & Elena Losina, 2011. "Differences in Self-Reported Health in the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) and Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III)," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 6(2), pages 1-7, February.
    18. Manoj K. Pandey, 2013. "Elderly's Health Shocks and Household's Ex-ante Poverty in India," ASARC Working Papers 2013-01, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    19. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2006. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance, CHERE Working Paper 2006/2," Working Papers 2006/2, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
    20. Thomas Rapp & Jérôme Ronchetti & Jonathan Sicsic, 2021. "Are long-term care jobs harmful? Evidence from Germany," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 22(5), pages 749-771, July.
    21. Vincent Hildebrand & Philippe Kerm, 2009. "Income inequality and self-rated health status: Evidence from the european community household panel," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(4), pages 805-825, November.
    22. Julien Albertini & Anthony Terriau, 2019. "Wealth and health in South Africa," Working Papers halshs-02073800, HAL.
    23. Thomas F. Crossley & Steven Kennedy, 2000. "The Stability of Self Assessed Health Status," CEPR Discussion Papers 421, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    24. Manoj K. Pandey, 2009. "Labor Force Participation among Indian Elderly: Does Health Matter?," ASARC Working Papers 2009-11, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
    25. Pandey, Manoj K., 2009. "On ageing, health and poverty in rural India," MPRA Paper 15932, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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