• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 1982 August; 72(8): 800–808.
PMCID: PMC1650365

Self-rated health: a predictor of mortality among the elderly.


Data from the Manitoba Longitudinal Study on Aging (MLSA) were used to test the hypothesis that self-rated health (SRH) is a predictor of mortality independent of "objective health status" (OHS). Subjects were a random sample of non-institutionalized residents of Manitoba aged 65+ in 1971 (n = 3,128). A single item measure of SRH was obtained during a survey conducted in 1971; a baseline measure of OHS was derived from physician and self-reported conditions and health service utilization data. Occurrence and date of death during the years 1971-1977 were known. Analyses of the data revealed that, controlling for OHS, age, sex, life satisfaction, income and urban/rural residence, the risk of early mortality (1971-1973) and late mortality (1974-1977) for persons whose SRH was poor was 2.92 and 2.77 times that of those whose SRH was excellent. This increased risk of death associated with poor self-rated health was greater than that associated with poor OHS, poor life satisfaction, low income and being male. These findings provide empirical support for the long held, but inadequately substantiated, belief that the way a person views his health is importantly related to subsequent health outcomes.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.4M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Wan TT. Predicting self-assessed health status: a multivariate approach. Health Serv Res. 1976 Winter;11(4):464–477. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tissue T. Another look at self-rated health among the elderly. J Gerontol. 1972 Jan;27(1):91–94. [PubMed]
  • Fillenbaum GG. Social context and self-assessments of health among the elderly. J Health Soc Behav. 1979 Mar;20(1):45–51. [PubMed]
  • MADDOX GL. Some correlates of differences in self-assessment of health status among the elderly. J Gerontol. 1962 Apr;17:180–185. [PubMed]
  • Blazer DG, 2nd, Houpt JL. Perception of poor health in the healthy older adult. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1979 Jul;27(7):330–334. [PubMed]
  • Maddox GL, Douglass EB. Self-assessment of health: a longitudinal study of elderly subjects. J Health Soc Behav. 1973 Mar;14(1):87–93. [PubMed]
  • LaRue A, Bank L, Jarvik L, Hetland M. Health in old age: how do physicians' ratings and self-ratings compare? J Gerontol. 1979 Sep;34(5):687–691. [PubMed]
  • Singer E, Garfinkel R, Cohen SM, Srole L. Mortality and mental health: evidence from the Midtown Manhattan Restudy. Soc Sci Med. 1976 Nov-Dec;10(11-12):517–525. [PubMed]
  • Garrity TF. Social involvement and activeness as predictors of morale six months after first myocardial infarction. Soc Sci Med. 1973 Mar;7(3):199–207. [PubMed]
  • Garrity TF. Vocational adjustment after first myocardial infarction; comparative assessment of several variables suggested in the literature. Soc Sci Med. 1973 Sep;7(9):705–717. [PubMed]
  • Brown JS, Rawlinson M. Relinquishing the sick role following open-heart surgery. J Health Soc Behav. 1975 Mar;16(1):12–27. [PubMed]
  • Pfeiffer E. Survival in old age: physical, psychological and social correlates of longevity. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1970 Apr;18(4):273–285. [PubMed]
  • Mossey JM, Havens B, Roos NP, Shapiro E. The Manitoba longitudinal study on aging: description and methods. Gerontologist. 1981 Oct;21(5):551–558. [PubMed]
  • Roos NP, Shapiro E. The Manitoba longitudinal study on aging: preliminary findings on health care utilization by the elderly. Med Care. 1981 Jun;19(6):644–657. [PubMed]
  • NEUGARTEN BL, HAVIGHURST RJ, TOBIN SS. The measurement of life satisfaction. J Gerontol. 1961 Apr;16:134–143. [PubMed]
  • Berkman LF, Syme SL. Social networks, host resistance, and mortality: a nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents. Am J Epidemiol. 1979 Feb;109(2):186–204. [PubMed]
  • Roos NP, Henteleff PD, Roos LL., Jr A new audit prodecure applied to an old question: Is the frequency of T&A justified? Med Care. 1977 Jan;15(1):1–18. [PubMed]
  • Roos LL., Jr Alternative designs to study outcomes: the tonsillectomy case. Med Care. 1979 Nov;17(11):1069–1087. [PubMed]
  • Studney DR, Hakstian AR. A comparison of medical record with billing diagnostic information associated with ambulatory medical care. Am J Public Health. 1981 Feb;71(2):145–149. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...