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Medical and social predictors of longevity in the elderly: Total predictive value and interdependence


  • Deeg, Dorly J. H.
  • van Zonneveld, Robert J.
  • van der Maas, Paul J.
  • Habbema, J. Dik F.


In the Dutch Longitudinal Study among the Elderly, a probability sample of 3149 persons from the population of the Netherlands, initial ages 65-99 years, was followed from 1955 for 28 years. Vital status was determined in 1983 for 84% of the original sample. Multivariate regression models were used to predict the realized probability of dying (RPD), a measure of longevity based on actual survival time, sex and age at baseline. Predictor variables included physical, mental and social indicators of health status. The total variance explained was 20.2%. Objective health (rated by the examining physician) showed the strongest relationship with the RPD. Upon removing objective health from the model, 19.5% of the variance remained explained. Separate analyses were performed for (1) bio-medical, physical and mental examination variables, (2) disability and health care use variables, and (3) social and psychological variables; in each case the variance explained was over 11%, demonstrating considerable interdependence among predictors. Across different regression models, bio-medical and disability variables proved to be the most stable predictors of longevity.

Suggested Citation

  • Deeg, Dorly J. H. & van Zonneveld, Robert J. & van der Maas, Paul J. & Habbema, J. Dik F., 1989. "Medical and social predictors of longevity in the elderly: Total predictive value and interdependence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1271-1280, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:29:y:1989:i:11:p:1271-1280

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    Cited by:

    1. BeniĀ­tez-Silva, Hugo & Ni, Huan, 2008. "Health status and health dynamics in an empirical model of expected longevity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 564-584, May.
    2. Erdogan-Ciftci, Esen & van Doorslaer, Eddy & Bago d'Uva, Teresa & van Lenthe, Frank, 2010. "Do self-perceived health changes predict longevity?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(11), pages 1981-1988, December.


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