Differences in life outlook and self-perceived health often attributed to age differences among the elderly were found to be more accurately explained by education. The young-old (62-74 years) and the old-old (75 years and older) were compared among 495 elderly in two rural counties in western Arkansas. The old-old were more likely than the young-old to perceive their health as better than that of others their age. But when six variables including age were entered into a predictive model for self-perceived health, differences were explained by education. That is, those with better educations rated their health more positively. There was no difference between the two age groups in sick days, although the old-old reported more days hospitalized and trips to the doctor. However, no predictive model for health status measured was statistically significant. On measures of life satisfaction, the old-old were slightly more pessimistic than the young-old. But the age difference in life outlook was explained by education when the data were controlled for other variables. The customary division of the elderly into young-old and old-old is questioned, and policy implications of the findings are discussed.
Danforth, Diana M.; Grinstead-Schneider, Mary Jo; and Voth, Donald E.
"Self-Perceived Health and Outlook Among the Rural Elderly,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 33
, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol33/iss1/12