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Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1984;19(2):111-32.

Health and subjective well-being: a meta-analysis.


A meta-analysis was conducted of the health/subjective well-being relationship, based upon studies of United States adults published prior to 1980. Dependent variables were zero-order and first-order correlations. A total of 231 zero-order effect size estimates were extracted from 104 different sources, while a total of 189 first-order effect sizes were extracted from thirty-three different sources. The majority of effect sizes were derived from samples where the midpoint of the age range was sixty-five and over. The 95 percent confidence interval estimates, generated using Tukey's jackknife procedure, were .29 to .35 and .29 to .38 for the zero-order and first-order correlations, respectively. Using weighted regression procedures, univariate analyses indicated that all but one study and sample characteristics were significant (p less than .05) predictors of zero-order and first-order correlations, though none of the predictors adequately specified variation in effect sizes. The mean value of the first-order correlations varied with the type of control variable, ranging from .42 (age) to .27 (SES composite). Health and subjective well-being were found to be positively and significantly related. Limitations of the meta-analysis were noted and suggestions were made for strengthening research on this topic.

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