A comparison of correlates of self-rated health and functional disability of older persons in the Far East: Japan and Korea.
Lee, Y; Shinkai, S
Archives of gerontology and geriatrics, 37(1):63-76, 2003
Archives of gerontology and geriatrics
Self-rated health and physical functioning are recognized as important indicators of health in older persons. Rarely, however, there have been studies done which examine cross-cultural differences in the health of older people using these measures, especially among non-Western countries. The objective of this study was to examine patterns of association of self-rated health and functional disability of Japanese and Korean elderly people living in the community, using nationwide surveys of persons aged 60 years or over. There were striking similarities in the general pattern of associations with covariates. In the multivariate analysis, age, work status, comorbidity, depressive symptoms, life satisfaction, hospitalization, and functional disability were strongly associated with self-rated health in both populations. For functional disability, older age, female, low social contact, depressive symptoms, poor life satisfaction, and poor self-rated health were found to be significantly associated. Some differences in the structure of associations with self-rated health, however, were noted. Women tended to assess their health more favorably than men in Korea, but in the Japanese elderly gender differences disappeared when other variables were taken into account. Health-related variables tended to be more closely associated with functional disability in the Japanese sample. An overall similarity, however, in the pattern of associations of these measures supports their utility in assessing and comparing the health of older populations in this region.
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