General subjective health status or age-related subjective health status: Does it make a difference?

Orna Baron-Epel, Giora Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the agreement between two subjective health measures, a general question on subjective health and an age-related question on subjective health. The study identifies specific groups differing in their answer to the two questions. These measures are used frequently in health-related studies where a short measure is needed to estimate health. Therefore, it is important to understand how the population estimates its health. The study based on 793 telephone interviews shows that among respondents aged 65-75 with no reported diseases and those with less than 12 years of education with no reported diseases, the agreement between the two questions was poor. These two groups reported better health when they were asked to compare their health to people of their age and sex. Excellent agreement between the two questions was reported in those aged 55-64 with no diseases. The respondents having more years of education reported better health than the less educated but only when using the age-related subjective health measure. These findings demand caution when using different wordings in questions on subjective health in non-homogeneous populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1381
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This survey was funded by the Israeli National Institute for Health Policy and Health Services Research.


  • Age
  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Israel
  • Subjective health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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