Socioeconomic Differences in Self-Assessed Health in a Chronically Ill Population: The Role of Different Health Aspects

Abstract

We investigated the role that different health aspects play in the explanation of socioeconomic differences in self-assessed health. Socioeconomic differences in self-assessed health were investigated in relation to chronic disease, functional limitations, psychosomatic symptoms, and perceived discomfort/distress. In multiple logistic regression analyses, for three cutoff points of self-assessed health, significant socioeconomic differences in self-assessed health could be observed after adjusting for age and gender. After separate adjustment for each of the four health aspects, the analyses showed that for a health assessment as less-than-good and less-than-fair, psychosomatic symptoms were the most powerful explanatory factor. Perceived discomfort/distress proved to be the most powerful factor for a poor health assessment. We found that socioeconomic differences in self-assessed health could, to a large extent (72–80%), be explained through socioeconomic differences in the prevalence of the four types of health problems included in the study. For all cutoff points, objective health aspects accounted for a relatively small part of the socioeconomic variability in self-assessed health. More subjective aspects of health accounted for more of the variability.

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Simon, J.G., van de Mheen, H., van der Meer, J.B.W. et al. Socioeconomic Differences in Self-Assessed Health in a Chronically Ill Population: The Role of Different Health Aspects. J Behav Med 23, 399–420 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1005552814010

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  • self-assessed health
  • socioeconomic differences
  • chronic disease
  • functional limitations
  • psychosomatic symptoms
  • perceived discomfort/distress