Improving Prediction of Mortality among Older Adults: Self, Interviewer, and Physician Ratings of Overall Health

Megan Todd, Princeton University

A large literature on self-rated health (SRH) has found a robust link between SRH and subsequent mortality. The reasons for this link, however, remain poorly understood. Prior research comparing the health ratings of survey respondents, interviewers, and physicians has found that these three evaluators place different weights on particular health factors when rating survey respondents’ overall health status. This suggests that health assessments made by interviewers and physicians may contribute valuable additional information regarding a respondent’s health, beyond what is incorporated in SRH. The contribution of this study is in determining whether this additional information from external health evaluators results in better mortality prediction. Using data from the Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study (SEBAS), we evaluate the predictive power of self, interviewer, and physician health assessments for subsequent mortality among older Taiwanese adults. Preliminary results suggest that interviewer health ratings are particularly promising for improving mortality predictions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5