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Beyond Self-Reports: Changes in Biomarkers as Predictors of Mortality


  • Dana A. Glei
  • Noreen Goldman
  • Germán Rodríguez
  • Maxine Weinstein


type="main"> The proliferation of biosocial surveys has increased the importance of weighing the costs and benefits of adding biomarker collection to population-based surveys. A crucial question is whether biomarkers offer incremental value beyond self-reported measures, which are easier to collect and impose less respondent burden. We use longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of older Taiwanese (aged 54+ in 2000, examined in 2000 and 2006 with mortality follow-up through 2011) to address that question with respect to predicting all-cause mortality. A summary measure of biomarkers improves mortality prediction (as measured by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) compared with self-reports alone, but individual biomarkers perform better than the summary score. We find that incorporating change in biomarkers over a six-year period yields a small improvement in mortality prediction compared with one-time measurement. But, is the incremental value worth the costs?

Suggested Citation

  • Dana A. Glei & Noreen Goldman & Germán Rodríguez & Maxine Weinstein, 2014. "Beyond Self-Reports: Changes in Biomarkers as Predictors of Mortality," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 40(2), pages 331-360, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:40:y:2014:i:2:p:331-360

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Royston, Patrick & Carlin, John B. & White, Ian R., 2009. "Multiple imputation of missing values: New features for mim," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(2), pages 1-13.
    2. Eileen Crimmins & Jung Kim & Sarinnapha Vasunilashorn, 2010. "Biodemography: New approaches to understanding trendsand differences in population health and mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 47(1), pages 41-64, March.
    3. Patrick Royston & John B. Carlin & Ian R. White, 2009. "Multiple imputation of missing values: New features for mim," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 9(2), pages 252-264, June.
    4. Cassio M. Turra & Noreen Goldman & Christopher L. Seplaki & Dana A. Glei & Yu‐Hsuan Lin & Maxine Weinstein, 2005. "Determinants of Mortality at Older Ages: The Role of Biological Markers of Chronic Disease," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 31(4), pages 675-698, December.
    5. Seeman, Teresa E. & Crimmins, Eileen & Huang, Mei-Hua & Singer, Burton & Bucur, Alexander & Gruenewald, Tara & Berkman, Lisa F. & Reuben, David B., 2004. "Cumulative biological risk and socio-economic differences in mortality: MacArthur Studies of Successful Aging," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(10), pages 1985-1997, May.
    6. Zimmer, Zachary & Martin, Linda G. & Lin, Hui-Sheng, 2005. "Determinants of old-age mortality in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 457-470, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Brown & Pulak Ghosh & Daniel Gray & Bhuvanesh Pareek & Jennifer Roberts, 2017. "Saving Behaviour and Biomarkers: A High-Dimensional Bayesian Analysis of British Panel Data," Working Papers 2017005, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.

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