Correlates of subjective health across the aging lifespan: Understanding self-rated health in the oldest old

Davina French, K Sargent-Cox, Mary Luszcz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    52 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objectives: To examine the determinants of self-rated health (SRH) in different age groups of older adults, including the oldest old. Methods: Variables assessing physical health, difficulty with self-care, depressive symptoms, and cognitive impairment were pooled and harmonized from three Australian longitudinal studies of ageing (N = 5,222). The association of these with SRH was examined in older adults aged 60 to 64 years, 65 to 74 years, 75 to 84 years, and 85 years and older. Results: SRH was not associated with cognitive impairment or difficulty with self-care in the oldest old, and its association with physical health was diminished compared with younger groups. Depression showed a significant relationship in all age groups, conferring an approximately fourfold increase in the likelihood of poorer SRH. Discussion: As old age progresses, self-reports of poor health become most closely related to psychological symptoms. This explains some of the paradoxes of past literature and offers important insights for health professionals working with the oldest old.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1449-1469
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Aging and Health
    Volume24
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

    Keywords

    • cognitive function
    • depression
    • disability
    • oldest old
    • self-rated health

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