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J Health Soc Behav. 2004 Sep;45(3):336-56.

In sickness but not in health: self-ratings, identity, and mortality.

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Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 30 College Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1293, USA.


Self-rated health as a predictor of mortality has been studied primarily in large, representative populations, with relatively little progress toward understanding the information processing that individuals use to arrive at these ratings. With subsamples of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Epidemiologic Follow-up Study (NHEFS) data for respondents with circulatory system disease (N = 3,709) and respondents with no diagnosable disorders (N = 1,127) at baseline, we test the idea that individuals with experience of chronic disease of the circulatory system will have more predictive self-ratings of health than healthy individuals. Poor or fair self-rated health increased the adjusted hazard of all-cause mortality for respondents with circulatory system disease, but not for respondents who were healthy. Additional analyses confirm that poor or fair self-rated health is particularly predictive for respondents with self-reported history of circulatory system diagnoses and perception of symptoms, but not for respondents without symptoms or diagnoses prior to the NHANES physical exam.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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