European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 213–226 | Cite as

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

Original Investigation

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Self-rated health SHARE Cross-national comparison Multinomial logistic regression Determinants Homogeneity across countries 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author is thankful to two anonymous referees for their constructive and helpful criticism. This paper uses data from release 2 of SHARE 2004. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th framework programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life). Additional funding came from the US National Institute on Ageing (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, Y1-AG-4553-01 and OGHA 04-064). Data collection in Austria (through the Austrian Science Foundation, FWF), Belgium (through the Belgian Science Policy Office) and Switzerland (through BBW/OFES/UFES) was nationally funded. The SHARE data collection in Israel was funded by the US National Institute on Aging (R21 AG025169), by the German–Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (G.I·F.), and by the National Insurance Institute of Israel. Further support by the European Commission through the 6th framework program (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, and COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857) is gratefully acknowledged. For details see Börsch-Supan et al. (2005a).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Statistics and Insurance ScienceUniversity of PiraeusPiraeusGreece
  2. 2.Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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