Self-Rated Health and Mortality: A Review of Twenty-Seven Community Studies

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick 08903, USA.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.72). 04/1997; 38(1):21-37. DOI: 10.2307/2955359
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examine the growing number of studies of survey respondents' global self-ratings of health as predictors of mortality in longitudinal studies of representative community samples. Twenty-seven studies in U.S. and international journals show impressively consistent findings. Global self-rated health is an independent predictor of mortality in nearly all of the studies, despite the inclusion of numerous specific health status indicators and other relevant covariates known to predict mortality. We summarize and review these studies, consider various interpretations which could account for the association, and suggest several approaches to the next stage of research in this field.

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    • "Prior studies have also measured health as a binary comparing those who have excellent health to all others when a large number of mother's report that their children are in excellent health (71.5%) (Condliffe and Link 2008; Conley and Yeung 2005; Currie and Lin 2007; Currie and Stabile 2003). In adulthood, self-reported health is a reliable indicator of morbidity and mortality (Benyamini and Idler 1997; McGee et al. 1999), and I find that maternal reports of excellent health are strongly related to serious health conditions. The odds of a child having a serious chronic condition or physical limitation, e.g., asthma, heart problems, blood disorders, and epilepsy, are 5 times higher when a mother reports that her child has less than excellent health (p<.001). "
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    • "Subjective measures of health are valid indicators of objective health (Idler & Benyamini, 1997; Miilunpalo et al., 1997). However , the consideration of additional objective health markers in "
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    • "It is recognized as a valid indicator for fitness (Hertzman et al., 2001) and for morbidity (Power et al., 1991). Furthermore, it has been consistently shown to predict mortality, meaning that mortality rates increase monotonically with successively poorer self-rating of health (Idler and Benyamini, 1997; Wannamethee and Shaper, 1991). Table I provides summary statistics for some key variables. "
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