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Journal Article

Social Context and Self-Assessments of Health among the Elderly

G. G. Fillenbaum
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 20, No. 1 (Mar., 1979), pp. 45-51
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136478
Page Count: 7
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Social Context and Self-Assessments of Health among the Elderly
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Abstract

Self-assessments of health made by randomly selected mentally capable older persons in the community (N = 937) and in institutions (N = 61) were compared with objective measures of their health (number of problems, different medicines used, number of diagnosed illnesses). Self-assessment was found to be related to these objective health measures among community residents but not among those in institutions. Among community residents, but not among those in institutions, there were also sex-related differences, women having a poorer objectively assessed health status for a given self-assessment of health than men. These findings extend those of others which indicate that health self-assessments reflect actual health status (and so are useful in surveys), by showing that the accuracy of the information obtained can be enhanced when the sex of the respondent is taken into account.

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