, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 213-226
Date: 07 Aug 2009

Key elements composing self-rated health in older adults: a comparative study of 11 European countries

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Self-rated health (SRH) is a multidimensional measure, predictive of morbidity and mortality. Comparative studies of determinants, however, are rare due to a lack of comparable cross-national data. This paper contributes towards filling in this gap, using data for persons aged 50 or higher in 11 European countries from the SHARE study (2004). The analysis aims at identifying key elements composing SRH using multinomial logistic regression models. In addition, the homogeneity of associations across populations is assessed. The findings indicate that education, depression, chronic conditions, mobility difficulties, somatic symptoms and levels of physical activity constitute important components of SRH; ADLs and obesity, on the other hand, are not significant and IADLs are important only in a few countries. All these associations point to the expected direction and are homogeneous across countries. However, demographic factors, age and gender, though significant in many countries have divergent associations. Effects of smoking also differentiate between southern and northern Europe.