Self-rated health and mortality in a Lithuanian and a Dutch population

Soc Sci Med. 1996 Mar;42(5):681-9. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(95)00195-6.


The hypothesis that the evaluation of one's health as poor is associated with mortality, independent of the results of a standardized medical examination, was tested in the Kaunas-Rotterdam Follow-Up Study. In this study two cohorts, one consisting of 2452 Lithuanian males and one of 3365 Dutch males, aged 45-60, were screened for cardiovascular risk factors in 1973, using identical protocols, and were followed for about ten years. Self-rated health was assessed by two direct questions: 'How would you assess your own health?' and 'What do you think of your own health compared to that of other men of your age?' as well as by a Semantic Differential Test of 'My Health'. In both cohorts a negative evaluation of one's health was associated with mortality, controlling for past or present heart disease, cardiovascular risk factors, parental life span, socio-economic and marital status. Especially the data with regard to the comparative question indicate that self-rated health is associated with mortality in men living in two different socio-cultural systems. The date suggest that a weak sense of mastery may explain the association between health perception and mortality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Lithuania / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Semantic Differential