Life Satisfaction, Self-Rated Health, and Mortality in Taiwanese Elderly

Li-Shou Yang, University of Michigan
Mary Beth Ofstedal, University of Michigan
Shu-Hui Lin, Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan

Increasing evidence from studies in Western societies suggests that subjective measures of psychological well-being and physical health are important predictors of mortality. Subjective evaluations of well-being may differ across cultures and societies, however. We investigate whether these relationships hold in a non-Western setting by examining the influence of self-reported life satisfaction and health on mortality of elderly in Taiwan. The Panel Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan provides repeated measures of psychological and physical well-being collected in 1989 (the baseline survey, N=4,049, age=60+) and three follow-up interviews in 1993, 1996, and 1999. We combine the survey information with 15 years of mortality data (1989-2003) and use event history analysis to evaluate the influence of subjective well-being on mortality. The findings are consistent with Western studies in showing important effects of physical and psychological well-being on mortality, over and above the effects of objective health measures.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Aging, Life Course, Health, Mortality, and Health Care