Objectives: To examine the predictive value of subjective health on mortality separately in women and men, independently of other health measures, and to explain the differences between sexes by way of cognition, depression, and disability.
Methods: The PAQUID (Personnes Agées QUID) cohort is a representative sample of 3,660 nondemented elderly community residents, aged 65 and older. The relationship between subjective health and 5-year mortality was studied using the Cox model with delayed entry.
Results: In men, subjective health was a predictor of mortality, independent of sociodemographic characteristics, physical health status, depressive symptomatology, cognitive function, and disability, particularly in the middle-range categories of subjective health. In women, the relationship between subjective health and mortality was explained by physical health status and disability.
Discussion: Self-rated health seems to be a better predictor of mortality in men than in women. In men, the way in which self-ratings of health are produced remains unknown. In order to better understand sex differences, the pathways from healthy life to dependency and death, and their related changes in subjective health, should be explored further.