Diverging Ideas of Health? Explanatory Factors for Self-rated Health Across Gender, Age-Groups, and European Countries

Patrick Lazarevic , Vienna Institute of Demography
Martina Brandt, TU Dortmund University

Background: Self-rated health (SRH), while being a widely used health indicator, remains a black box. In our paper, we identify its determinants, quantify their importance for SRH, and explore the moderating role of gender, age-groups, and country. Method: Using SHARE-data from fifteen European countries, we analyze SRH with regression models, decompose R2 via dominance analysis for five health domains, and compare their contributions across gender, three age-groups, and countries. Results: Diseases and functioning contribute most to SRH followed by pain and depression while behavior is the least relevant domain. This ranking holds true for almost all countries with only little variance overall. A comparison of age-groups indicates a decreasing relevance of diseases and behavior with age while the importance of functioning to R2 increases. Conclusion: SRH is based on diverse health information, especially functioning and diseases, and shows good cross-national comparability. However, there are age differences in its composition.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging