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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Self-Rated Health and Mortality: Does the Relationship Extend to a Low Income Setting?


Although a relationship between poor self-reported health status and excess mortality risks has been well-established for industrialized countries, almost no research considers developing countries. We use data from Indonesia to show that in a low-income setting, as in more advantaged parts of the world, individuals who perceive their health to be poor are significantly more likely to die in subsequent follow-up periods than their counterparts who view their health as good. This result characterizes both men and women, holds for multiple time periods, and remains after inclusion of measures of nutritional status, physical functioning, symptoms of poor physical health and depression, and hypertension. We also consider the correlates of self-rated health. Symptoms and physical functioning are strong predictors of reporting poor rather than good health, but neither these indicators nor other covariates we consider distinguish between reports of excellent rather than good health.

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