Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The relationship between self-rated health and mortality in older black and white Americans.

Lee SJ, Moody-Ayers SY, Landefeld CS, Walter LC, Lindquist K, Segal MR, Covinsky KE. The relationship between self-rated health and mortality in older black and white Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2007 Oct 1; 55(10):1624-9.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVES: To determine whether the association between self-rated health (SRH) and 4-year mortality differs between black and white Americans and whether education affects this relationship. DESIGN: Prospective cohort. SETTING: Communities in the United States. PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen thousand four hundred thirty-two subjects (14,004 white, 2,428 black) enrolled in the 1998 wave of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a population-based study of community-dwelling U.S. adults aged 50 and older. MEASUREMENTS: Subjects were asked to self-identify their race and their overall health by answering the question, "Would you say your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?" Death was determined according to the National Death Index. RESULTS: SRH is a much stronger predictor of mortality in whites than blacks (c-statistic 0.71 vs 0.62). In whites, poor SRH resulted in a markedly higher risk of mortality than excellent SRH (odds ratio (OR) = 10.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 8.0-13.6). In blacks, poor RSH resulted in a much smaller increased risk of mortality (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.5-5.5). SRH was a stronger predictor of death in white and black subjects with higher levels of education, but differences in education could not account for the observed race differences in the prognostic effect of SRH. CONCLUSION: This population-based study found that the relationship between SRH and mortality is stronger in white Americans and in subjects with higher levels of education. Because the association between SRH and mortality appears weakest in traditionally disadvantaged groups, SRH may not be the best measure to identify vulnerable older subjects.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.