Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 193–197 | Cite as

Predictors of Adolescent Self-rated Health

Analysis of the National Population Health Survey
  • Evelyn R. VingilisEmail author
  • Terrance J. Wade
  • Jane S. Seeley


Objective: To examine what factors predict adolescents’ concepts of their health.

Methods: The study, based on the longitudinal National Population Health Survey, included 1,493 adolescents who were 12–19 at the time of interview. Sex, age, grade, family structure, income, disability, chronic health problems, social supports, social involvement, school/work involvement, smoking, alcohol bingeing, physical activities, Body Mass Index (BMI) and psychological health status variables were examined. Using ordinal multivariate regression, self-rated health was regressed on all predictors, which were entered in blocks hierarchically.

Results: The analyses revealed that adolescent perceptions of health are framed not only by their physical health status, but also by personal, socio-environmental, behavioural and psychological factors. Specifically, health problems, disability, age, female status, lower income, smoking, and higher BMI were associated with lower self-rated health.

Conclusions: This study suggests that adolescent appraisals of their health are shaped by their overall sense of functioning, which includes both physical health and non-physical health dimensions.


Á venir


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bierman AS, Steiner C, Friedman B, Fillmore CM, Clancy C. Epidemiology of preventable hospitalizations in the United States: Measuring socioeconomic inequalities in health, access, and quality. Am J Epidemiol 1999;149(11Suppl):177.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Davies AR, Ware JE. Measuring Health Perceptions in the Health Insurance Experiment. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 1981.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Idler EL, Angel RJ. Self-rated health and mortality in the NHANES-I epidemiologic follow-up study. Am J Public Health 1990;80(4):446–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mossey JM, Shapiro E. Self-rated health: A predictor of mortality among the elderly. Am J Public Health 1982;72:800–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Venus PJ, Levin R, Rector TS. Women’ perceptions of Medicaid managed care. Women’s Health Issues 1999;9(2):81–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Warren R. Wealth and Health, Health and Wealth. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 1994.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Krause NM, Jay GM. What do global self-rated health items measure? Med Care 1994;32(9):930–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ontario. Premiers Council on Health, Well-Being and Social Justice. Ontario Health Survey 1990 Highlights. Toronto: Ministry of Health, 1992.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mulder C. Chronic health problems and long-term disability. In: Alder R, Vingilis E, Mai V (Eds.), Community Health and Well-Being in Southwestern Ontario: A Resource for Planning. London, ON: The Middlesex-London Health Unit and The University of Western Ontario, 1996;217–34.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jessor R. Adolescent problem drinking: Psychosocial aspects and developmental outcomes. In: Towle LH (Ed.), Proceedings: NIAAA-WHO Collaborating Centre Designation Meeting & Alcohol Research Seminar, 1985.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Meredith CN, Dwyer JT. Nutrition and exercise: Effects on adolescent health. Annu Rev Public Health 1991;12:309–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Millstein SG, Litt I. Adolescent health and health behaviors. In: Feldman SS, Elliott G (Eds.), At the Threshold: The Developing Adolescent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990;431–56.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mechanic D, Hansell S. Adolescent competence, psychological well-being, and self-assessed physical health. J Health Soc Behav 1987;28:364–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mussen PH, Conger JJ, Kogan J. Child Development and Personality, 3rd Ed. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1969.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shah CP. Public Health and Preventative Medicine in Canada, 3rd Ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Evans RG, Barer ML, Marmor TR. Why Are Some People Healthy and Others Not? Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1994.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    National Forum of Health. Canada Health Action: Building on the Legacy. Synthesis Reports and Issue Papers. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Vingilis E, Wade TJ, Adlaf E. What factors predict student self-rated physical health? J Adolesc 1998;21:1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Statistics Canada. NPHS Public Use Microdata Documentation. National Population Health Survey, 1995.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Mechanic D. Adolescent health and illness behavior: Review of the literature and a new hypothesis for the study of stress. J Hum Stress 1983;9:4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wade TJ, Vingilis E. The development of self-rated health during adolescence: An exploration of inter- and intra-cohort effects. Can J Public Health 1999;90(2):90–94.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Goodman E. The role of socioeconomic status gradients in explaining differences in US adolescents’ health. Am J Public Health 1999;89(10):1522–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Scheidt PC, Harel Y, Trumble AC, Jones DH, Overpeck MD, Bijur PE. The epidemiology of nonfatal injuries among US children and youth. Am J Public Health 1995;85(7):932–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Office of Criminal Justice Services. 1999 Ohio Youth Risk Behavior Survey. What Ohio Students Reported, 2001.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rainey CJ, McKeown RF, Sargent RG, Valois RF. Adolescent athleticism, exercise, body image, and dietary practices. Am J Health Behav 1998;22(3):3–4.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Must A, Dallal GE, Dietz WH. Reference data for obesity: 85th and 95th percentiles of body mass index (ht/m) and triceps skinfold thickness. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:836–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Troiano RP, Flegal KM, Kuczmarski RJ, Campbell SM, Johnson CL. Overweight prevalence and trends for children and adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1963 to 1991. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1995;149:1085–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Troiano RP, Flegal KM. Overweight children and adolescents: Description, epidemiology, and demographics. Pediatrics 1998;101:497–505.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wade TJ, Cairney J. Age and depression in a nationally representative sample of Canadians: A preliminary look at the National Population Health Survey. Can J Public Health 1997;88(5):297–304.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyn R. Vingilis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Terrance J. Wade
    • 2
  • Jane S. Seeley
    • 3
  1. 1.The Population & Community Health Unit, Family MedicineThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Institute for Health Policy & Health Services Research & the Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Cincinnati Medical CenterCincinnatiCanada
  3. 3.The Population & Community Health Unit, Family MedicineThe University of Western OntarioCanada

Personalised recommendations