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Elderly people's ratings of the importance of health-related factors to their self-assessments of health


  • Benyamini, Yael
  • Leventhal, Elaine A.
  • Leventhal, Howard


Identifying the bases for self-assessed health (SAH) has interested researchers in their attempts to understand its validity as a predictor of future health outcomes. Quantitative approaches typically used statistical methods to identify correlates of SAH while qualitative approaches asked people to elaborate on the reasons underlying their rating of health. The current study used a quantitative methodology, asking 487 elderly people to rate the importance of 42 health-related factors as bases for their SAH judgment. Factors indicating overall functioning/vitality were rated highly by all participants. Factors indicating current disease were rated highly by people reporting poor/fair SAH while risk factors and positive indicators were rated highly by those reporting good, very good, or excellent health. Thus, there seems to be a clear distinction between poor and fair SAH that reflect levels of illness, and higher levels of SAH that reflect levels of health.

Suggested Citation

  • Benyamini, Yael & Leventhal, Elaine A. & Leventhal, Howard, 2003. "Elderly people's ratings of the importance of health-related factors to their self-assessments of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1661-1667, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:8:p:1661-1667

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    Cited by:

    1. Jylhä, Marja, 2009. "What is self-rated health and why does it predict mortality? Towards a unified conceptual model," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 307-316, August.
    2. Subramanian, S.V. & Acevedo-Garcia, Dolores & Osypuk, Theresa L., 2005. "Racial residential segregation and geographic heterogeneity in black/white disparity in poor self-rated health in the US: a multilevel statistical analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 1667-1679, April.
    3. Natalia Golini & Viviana Egidi, 2016. "The Latent Dimensions of Poor Self-Rated Health: How Chronic Diseases, Functional and Emotional Dimensions Interact Influencing Self-Rated Health in Italian Elderly," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 321-339, August.
    4. Hafiz T. A. Khan & Matt Flynn, 2016. "Self-Reported Health Status of Older Adults in Malaysia and Singapore: Evidence from the 2007 Global Ageing Survey," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(3), pages 687-705, September.
    5. Baron-Epel, Orna & Kaplan, Giora & Haviv-Messika, Amalia & Tarabeia, Jalal & Green, Manfred S. & Nitzan Kaluski, Dorit, 2005. "Self-reported health as a cultural health determinant in Arab and Jewish Israelis: MABAT--National Health and Nutrition Survey 1999-2001," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1256-1266, September.
    6. Cheng, Sheung-Tak & Chan, Alfred C.M., 2006. "Social support and self-rated health revisited:: Is there a gender difference in later life?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 118-122, July.
    7. George Ploubidis & Emily Grundy, 2011. "Health Measurement in Population Surveys: Combining Information from Self-reported and Observer-Measured Health Indicators," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 699-724, May.


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