Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 117–133 | Cite as

Sociodemographic Differentials of the Self-rated Health of the Oldest-old Chinese

  • Guiping Liu
  • Zhen Zhang


This study explores the correlation between sociodemographic factors and theself-rated health status of the oldest-old Chinese (80 and older). The data werefrom the Healthy Longevity Survey in China conducted in 1998. We applied astereotype ordered regression model to capture the ordinal nature of the responsevariable. We found that age group, sex, living arrangement, educational attainment,and occupational history were associated significantly with the self-rated healthstatus of the oldest-old Chinese, and the elderly with lower social status tended tonegatively evaluate health status. We reached the conclusions after controlling suchvariables as the capacity of physical performance of daily activities and chronic diseases.

China the oldest-old self-rated health stereotype regression model sociodemographic differentials 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ananth, C. & David, G.K. (1997), Regression models for ordinal responses: A review of methods and applications, International Journal of Epidemiology 26(6): 1323–1333.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, J.A. (1984), Regression and ordered categorical variables, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B (Methodological) 46(1): 1–30.Google Scholar
  3. Auslander, G.K. & Litwin, H. (1991), Social networks, social support, and self-ratings of health among the elderly, Journal of Aging and Health 4: 493–510.Google Scholar
  4. Benyamini, Y., Leventhal, E.A. & Leventhal, H. (1999), Self-assessments of health: What do people know that predicts their mortality? Research on Aging 221(3): 477–500.Google Scholar
  5. Engel, J. (1988), Polytomous logistic regression, Stat Neerlandica 42: 233–252.Google Scholar
  6. Ferraro, K.F. (1980), Self-ratings of health among the old and the old-old, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 21(4): 377–383.Google Scholar
  7. Ferraro, K.F. (1993), Are black older adults health-pessimistic? Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 34: 201–214.Google Scholar
  8. Fillenbaum, G.G. (1979), Social context and self-assessments of health among the elderly, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 20: 45–51.Google Scholar
  9. Fries, B.E., Morris, J.N., Skarupski, K.A., Blaum, C.S., Galecki, A., Bookstein, F. & Ribbe, M. (2000), Accelerated dysfunction among the very oldest-old in nursing homes, The Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 55A: M336–M341.Google Scholar
  10. George, L.K. (2001), Social psychology of health, pp. 217–238 in R.H. Binstock & L.K. George (eds.), Handbook of aging and the social sciences, fifth edition. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gibson, R.C. (1991), Race and the self-reported health of elderly persons, Journal of Gerontology: Social Science 46B: 235–242.Google Scholar
  12. Hansell, S. & Mechanic, D. (1991), Body awareness and self-assessed health among older adults, Journal of Ageing and Health 3(4): 473–492.Google Scholar
  13. Hirdes, J.P. & Forbes, W.F. (1993), Factors associated with the maintenance of good self-rated health, Journal of Aging and Health 5: 101–122.Google Scholar
  14. Idler, E.L. (1993), Age difference in self-assessments of health: Age changes, cohort differences, or survivorship? Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 48B(6): S289–S300.Google Scholar
  15. Idler, E.L., Husdson, S.V. & Leventhal, H. (1999), The meanings of self-ratings of health: a qualitative and quantitative approach, Research on Aging 21: 458–476.Google Scholar
  16. Idler, E.L., Kasl, S.V. & Lemke, J.H. (1990), Self-evaluated health and mortality among the elderly in New Heaven, Connecticut, and Iowa and Washington counties, Iowa, 1982–1986, American Journal of Epidemiology 131(1): 91–103.Google Scholar
  17. Ilder, E.L. & Benyamini, Y. (1997), Self-rated health and mortality: A review of twenty-seven community studies, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 38: 21–37.Google Scholar
  18. Johnson, R.J. & Wolinsky, F.D. (1993), The structure of health status among older adults: Disease, disability, functional limitation, and perceived health, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 34(2): 105–121.Google Scholar
  19. Krause, N.M. & Jay, G.M. (1994), What global self-rated health items measure? Medical Care 32(9): 930–942.Google Scholar
  20. Leisalu, M. (2002), Social variation in self-rated health in Estonia: A cross-sectional study, Social Sciences & Medicine 55: 847–861.Google Scholar
  21. Regression.pdfGoogle Scholar
  22. Maddox, G.L. & Douglass, E.B. (1973), Self-assessment health: A longitudinal study of elderly subjects, Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 14(1): 87–93.Google Scholar
  23. McCullagh, P. (1980), Regression models for ordinal data, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B (Methodological) 42(2): 109–142.Google Scholar
  24. Research Group of Healthy Longevity in China. (2001), Data collections of the healthy longevity survey in China 1998. Beijing: Peking University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Thorslund, M. & Lunderg, O. (1994), Health and inequalities among the oldest-old, Journal of Ageing and Health 6: 51–69.Google Scholar
  26. Wolinsk, F.D. & Johnson, R.J. (1992), Perceived health status and mortality among older men and women, Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 47(6): S304–S312.Google Scholar
  27. Zeng, Y. & George, L. (2000), Family dynamics of 63 million (in 1990) to more than 330 million (in 2050) elders in China, Demographic Research [Online] 2(5): available from http://www.demographic-research.org/.Google Scholar
  28. Zeng, Y., Vaupel, J.W., Xiao, Z, Zhang, C. & Liu, Y. (2001), The health longevity survey and the active life expectancy of the oldest-old in China, Population (English selection) 13(1): 95–116.Google Scholar
  29. Zeng, Y., Vaupel, J.W., Xiao, Z., Zhang, C. & Liu, Y. (2002), Sociodemographic and health profiles of the oldest old in China, Population and Development Review 28(2): 251–273.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guiping Liu
    • 1
  • Zhen Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institute for Demographic ResearchRostockGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Population ResearchYunnan UniversityKunming CityChina

Personalised recommendations