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Between Country Variations in Self-Rated-Health and Associations with the Quality of Life of Older People: Evidence from the Global Ageing Survey

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In social science and public health earlier research has persistently reported significant socio-economic inequalities in health, inequalities in the use of health care and self rated-health (SRH) among older adults. However, relatively little attention is paid to the link between SRH and the overall quality of life (QoL) of older adults. Utilising the data collected in the Global Ageing Survey (GLAS) 2006-07, the study explores the linkages between the self-rated-health and quality of life among older adults in 21 countries and territories in five major regions of the world. The QoL was assessed by two survey instruments designed to capture subjective as well as objective appraisals of individual quality of life. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to examine the influence of SRH on the QoL. The analyses reveal that there are health inequalities across different age cohorts and this remains consistent for all selected countries and territories. As expected the proportion reporting poor health increases with age in most countries. The net effect of health status on QoL has also been analysed subsequently in multivariate models using ordered logistic regression analysis and is adjusted for two main demographic variables - age and gender. Findings show that age plays an important role alongside with health on the overall quality of life. The study also reveals that females are found to be more likely to have been depressed compared to their male counterparts.

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This research arises as a part of the strategic alliance between the Oxford Institute of Ageing (OIA) and the HSBC Bank Plc for promoting the understanding of ageing issues across the globe. Authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of HSBC Bank to carry out research at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford in the UK. Paper presented at the 10th ICCS conference held at the American University in Cairo during December 20–13, 2009.

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Correspondence to Hafiz T. A. Khan.

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Dr. Hafiz T.A. Khan is also a Visiting Research Fellow in Demography at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, The University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6PR, United Kingdom, email:

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Khan, H.T.A., Raeside, R. Between Country Variations in Self-Rated-Health and Associations with the Quality of Life of Older People: Evidence from the Global Ageing Survey. Applied Research Quality Life 9, 923–949 (2014).

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