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European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 305–318 | Cite as

Determinants of change in self-rated health among older adults in Europe: a longitudinal perspective based on SHARE data

  • Georgia Verropoulou
Original Investigation

Abstract

The present study aims at detecting factors which may predict a decline or an improvement in self-rated health (SRH) of older adults (persons aged 50 or higher) among socio-demographic characteristics, physical and mental health indicators and risky health behaviours. In the analysis, multinomial logistic regression models are applied to data from waves 1 and 2 of the Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (carried out about 3 years apart); persons who report a decline or an improvement in SRH at wave 2 are compared to those who report no change while controlling for SRH at baseline and country of residence. The analysis was carried out for the whole sample and two subgroups, persons aged 50–64 and 65 or higher. The results indicate that female sex and higher educational attainment have a strong protective effect against decline in SRH. Worse health at baseline is an important predictor of subsequent decline but changes occurring between the waves have a more pronounced effect, implying that SRH is influenced more by recent developments. The findings also indicate that improvement in SRH is a more complex concept than decline and is strongly affected by factors other than health. Among behavioural risk factors, low levels of physical activity and a decrease in the levels of activity between the waves are significantly related to decline while frequent drinking seems associated with improvement. Differentiations by age are modest and probably suggest that advancing age is related to a milder view of one’s health.

Keywords

Self-rated health SHARE Longitudinal Decline Improvement 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Statistics & Insurance ScienceUniversity of PiraeusPiraeus, AthensGreece

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