Spouse- versus Self-rated health as Predictors of Mortality

L. Ayalon, KE. Covinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To evaluate the roles of spouse- versus self-rated health as predictors of all cause mortality among older adults over the age of 50. Design Cross sectional and longitudinal data from 2000 through 2006. Setting The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a national sample of Americans over the age of 50 and their spouses. Participants and Measurements 673 dyads of married couples randomly selected to participate in an HRS module examining spouse-rated health. For each couple, one member was asked to rate his or her overall health status, and his or her spouse was asked to report their partner's overall health status. Mortality data were available through the year 2006. Results Our findings demonstrate that spouse-rated health (area under the curve=.75) is as strong a predictor of mortality status as self-rated health (area under the curve=.73; chiˆ2[1]=.36, p=.54). Combining spouse- and self-rated health together predicts mortality better than self-rated health alone (area under the curve=.77; chiˆ2[1]=6.72, p=.009). Conclusions Spouse ratings of health are at least as strongly predictive of mortality as self-rated health. This suggests that when self-rated health is used as a prognostic indicator, spouse ratings can be used when self-ratings are unavailable. Both measures together may be more informative than either measure alone.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2156-2161
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Issue number22
StatePublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Spouse- versus Self-rated health as Predictors of Mortality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this