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Colombia Médica

On-line version ISSN 1657-9534

Abstract

OCAMPO, José Mauricio. Self-rated health: Importance of use in elderly adults. Colomb. Med. [online]. 2010, vol.41, n.3, pp.275-289. ISSN 1657-9534.

Introduction: The concept of self-rated health (SRH) was conceived during the first half of the twentieth century. Since then, numerous studies have documented the validity of its measurement and it has been widely accepted as a reliable measurement of overall health. SRH is considered a subjective measurement integrating the biological, mental, social, and functional aspects of an individual. Objective: To review the literature to determine theoretical determinants, related outcomes, and utility of SRH in elderly adults (EAs). Methods: The databases reviewed were Medline, SciELO, EMBASE, Science Direct, Proquest, and Ovid, along with information available in websites from international health agencies. Results: SRH is considered a sensitive measurement of overall health in EAs. It is influenced by physical function, the presence of disease, the existence of disabilities, functional limitations, and by the rate of aging. Many studies suggest it may be modified by demographics, as well as by social and mental factors. Thus, the perception of health is the result of multiple and complex interactions of variables determining it at any given time. SRH is based on systems theory and the bio-psychosocial health model. It has proven to be a significant independent predictor for development of morbidity, mortality, and disability in basic physical and instrumental daily life activities among elderly adults. Conclusion: In addition to reflecting the overall health status of EAs, SRH can provide information to aid health personnel and decision makers in the development and implementation of health promotion and disease prevention programs, as well as the adequacy and planning of different levels of care for this population.

Keywords : Self-rated health; Elderly adults; Daily life activities; Aging; Bio-psychosocial model.

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