Send to

Choose Destination
Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2013 Apr;33(4):302-10.

[Self-assessment of health by older Brazilians: systematic review of the literature].

[Article in Portuguese]

Author information

Faculdade de Enfermagem, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil.



To conduct a systematic review of the literature on self-assessment of health status in the elderly population.


Medline and LILACS were searched following the Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) methodology. Original articles on self-assessment of health status conducted with older Brazilians were selected. The following were examined: general characteristics of the studies, the prevalence of negative self-assessment of health, the factors associated with this negative self-assessment, the question used to inquire about health status and response categories.


Of 97 studies identified, 11 met the inclusion criteria. Variations between the studies regarding the formulation of the question and answer choices were identified. The prevalence of negative health self-assessment ranged from 12.6 to 51.9% between studies. The most usual dependent variables associated with negative self-assessment of health were the presence of disease, number of medications, monthly family/household income, hospitalizations, medical office visits, difficulty/inability to perform activities of daily living, presence of depressive and anxiety symptoms, and complaints of insomnia.


The heterogeneity of factors associated with a negative self-evaluation indicates that the health of older individuals is defined by determinants that fall within a broad view of health. The standardization of questions and answers for research on self-assessment of health in older people is recommended, since this information will produce knowledge and allow monitoring and comparison of results, and will therefore be useful in guiding decision-making regarding the formulation of health policies for Brazil and Latin America.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center