Self-assessment of health: an exploration of the effects of physical and psychological symptoms

Psychol Med. 1982 May;12(2):371-8. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700046705.


The clinician has no objective criteria of good health; he is likely to identify its presence only in the absence of disease and dysfunction. Yet the layman is able to give a global assessment of his own health as good, average or poor. The present paper explores the correlates of self-assessment of health in a large community sample and, by the use of two linear models, describes the effects of age, sex, reported symptoms, and long-standing illness on self-rated health status. It is suggested that global ratings are influenced by age and sex and by the experience of both physical and psychological symptoms, and that there are no interactive effects between symptoms and the demographic variables.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychological Tests
  • Sick Role*