Social Gradients in Self-Reported Health and Well-Being Among Adults Aged 50 and Over in Pune District, India

Type Journal Article - Global Health Action Supplement
Title Social Gradients in Self-Reported Health and Well-Being Among Adults Aged 50 and Over in Pune District, India
Volume 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 88-95
Background: India’s older population is projected to increase up to 96 million by 2011 with older people accounting for 18% of its population by 2051. The Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health aims to improve empirical understanding of health and well-being of older adults in developing countries. Objectives: To examine age and socio-economic changes on a range of key domains in self-reported health and well-being amongst older adults. Design: A cross sectional survey of 5,430 adults aged 50 and over using a shortened version of the SAGE questionnaire to assess self-reported assessments (scales of 15) of performance, function, disability, quality of life and well-being. Self-reported responses were calibrated using anchoring vignettes in eight key domains of mobility, self-care, pain, cognition, interpersonal relationships, sleep/energy, affect, and vision. WHO Disability Assessment Schedule Index and WHO health scores were calculated to examine for associations with socio-demographic variables. Results: Disability in all domains increased with increasing age and decreasing levels of education. Females and the oldest old without a living spouse reported poorer health status and greater disability across all domains. Performance and functionality self-reports were similar across all SES quintiles. Self-reports on quality of life were not significantly influenced by socio-demographic variables. Discussion: The study provides standardised and comparable self-rated health data using anchoring vignettes in an older population. Though expectations of good health, function and performance decrease with age, self-reports of disability severity significantly increased with age, more so if female, if uneducated and living without a spouse. However, the presence or absence of spouse did not significantly alter quality of life selfreports, suggesting a possible protective effect provided by traditional joint family structures in India, where older people are social if not financial assets for their children.

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