Objective: Subjective age is a biopsychosocial marker of aging with a range of health-related implications. Using 3 longitudinal samples, this study examined whether subjective age predicts hospitalization among older adults.
Method: Participants were adults aged from 24 to 102 years old, drawn from the 1995-1996 and 2004-2005 waves of the Midlife in the United States Survey (MIDUS, N = 3209), the 2008 and 2012 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, N = 3779), and the 2011 and 2013 waves of the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS, N = 3418). In each sample, subjective age and covariates were assessed at baseline and hospitalization was assessed at follow-up.
Results: Consistent across the 3 samples, participants who felt subjectively older at baseline had an increased likelihood of hospitalization (combined effect size: 1.17, 95% CI 1.11-1.23), controlling for age, sex, race, and education. Further adjusting for disease burden and depression reduced the magnitude of the association between subjective age and hospitalization in the 3 samples, but it remained significant in the MIDUS and HRS.
Conclusion: This study provides consistent evidence that subjective age predicts incident hospitalization. Subjective age assessment can help identify individuals at greater risk of hospitalization, who may benefit from prevention and intervention efforts. (PsycINFO Database Record
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