Positive affect and function as influences on self-assessments of health: Expanding our view beyond illness and disability

Yael Benyamini*, Ellen L. Idler, Howard Leventhal, Elaine A. Leventhal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

293 Scopus citations

Abstract

Longitudinal data from 851 elderly residents of a retirement community (mean age = 73 years) were used to examine the correlates of self-assessments of health (SAH) and the predictors of changes in SAH over several follow-up periods ranging from 1 to 5 years. The authors hypothesized that indicators of positive health, including feelings of energy and positive mood, social support, and active functioning, are as important in determining current and future SAH as negative indicators such as disease history, disability, medication, and negative mood. Results of cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses showed that functional ability, medication use, and negative affect were salient to people judging their health, but positive indicators of activity and mood had an even stronger, independent effect. These findings show the importance of attending to the full illness-wellness continuum in studying people's perceptions of health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)P107-P116
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2000

Funding

FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR37AG003501

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