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Self-rated economic condition and the health of elderly persons in Hong Kong

Author

Listed:
  • Cheng, Y. H.
  • Chi, I.
  • Boey, K. W.
  • Ko, L. S. F.
  • Chou, K. L.

Abstract

Studies have documented that health and income are important variables affecting the quality of life in old age. However, there is little knowledge about whether perceived financial sufficiency affects the health of elderly persons. Recent research has documented that in addition to material and behavioural determinants, psychosocial pathways also have an influence on health inequalities. This is the first paper to examine the relation between self-rated economic condition (measured with a single item question) and reported health conditions (i.e., somatic complaints, diagnosed physical diseases, functional health (Activities of Daily Living), self-rated health, and mental health status (General Health Questionnaire-30 [GHQ-30]) among elderly persons in Hong Kong. The respondents of the study were persons aged 65 and over residing in public housing estates in the Southern District of Hong Kong Island. Four hundred and fifty respondents were interviewed in 1995 by means of a structured questionnaire. The study found that although it did not record the actual income levels of the respondents, the subjective measure vividly demonstrated the health differentials among the elderly respondents. Multiple regression analyses suggested that self-rated economic condition was a significant predictor of the number of somatic complaints and physical illnesses reported, as well as of functional health, self-rated health, and mental health status (controlling for socio-demographic variables). However, the measure explained a higher proportion of variance in models related to psychological health than those related to physical health. The findings substantiated the role of psychosocial processes in understanding perceived health and illness and health inequalities in particular.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng, Y. H. & Chi, I. & Boey, K. W. & Ko, L. S. F. & Chou, K. L., 2002. "Self-rated economic condition and the health of elderly persons in Hong Kong," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1415-1424, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:55:y:2002:i:8:p:1415-1424
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Collins, Amy Love & Goldman, Noreen, 2008. "Perceived social position and health in older adults in Taiwan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 536-544, February.
    2. Dunn, James R. & Veenstra, Gerry & Ross, Nancy, 2006. "Psychosocial and neo-material dimensions of SES and health revisited: Predictors of self-rated health in a Canadian national survey," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(6), pages 1465-1473, March.
    3. Beydoun, May A. & Popkin, Barry M., 2005. "The impact of socio-economic factors on functional status decline among community-dwelling older adults in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 2045-2057, May.
    4. Arber, Sara & Fenn, Kirsty & Meadows, Robert, 2014. "Subjective financial well-being, income and health inequalities in mid and later life in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 12-20.
    5. Scheffel, Juliane & Zhang, Yiwei, 2016. "How Does Internal Migration Affect the Emotional Health of Elderly Parents Left-Behind?," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145663, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Lahelma, Eero & Laaksonen, Mikko & Martikainen, Pekka & Rahkonen, Ossi & Sarlio-Lähteenkorva, Sirpa, 2006. "Multiple measures of socioeconomic circumstances and common mental disorders," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(5), pages 1383-1399, September.
    7. Brenes-Camacho, Gilbert, 2011. "Favourable changes in economic well-being and self-rated health among the elderly," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(8), pages 1228-1235, April.
    8. Jik Lee, 2005. "An Exploratory Study on the Quality of Life of older Chinese People Living alone in Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 71(1), pages 335-361, March.

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