Objective: To examine what factors predict adolescents' concepts of their health.
Methods: The study, based on the longitudinal National Population Health Survey, included 1,493 adolescents who were 12-19 at the time of interview. Sex, age, grade, family structure, income, disability, chronic health problems, social supports, social involvement, school/work involvement, smoking, alcohol bingeing, physical activities, Body Mass Index (BMI) and psychological health status variables were examined. Using ordinal multivariate regression, self-rated health was regressed on all predictors, which were entered in blocks hierarchically.
Results: The analyses revealed that adolescent perceptions of health are framed not only by their physical health status, but also by personal, socio-environmental, behavioural and psychological factors. Specifically, health problems, disability, age, female status, lower income, smoking, and higher BMI were associated with lower self-rated health.
Conclusions: This study suggests that adolescent appraisals of their health are shaped by their overall sense of functioning, which includes both physical health and non-physical health dimensions.