Comparing the Predictive Power of Subjective and Objective Health Indicators: Changes in Handgrip Strength and Overall Satisfaction with Life as Predictors of Mortality

14 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2011

See all articles by Jens Ambrasat

Jens Ambrasat

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jürgen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität; The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Gert G. Wagner

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin); Berlin University of Technology; German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP)

Date Written: September 1, 2011

Abstract

Self-reported measures of health are generally treated as weak measures of respondents’ objective health status. On the other hand, most surveys use self-reported health to measure health status and to determine the effects of a range of other socio-economic characteristics of the local environment on individual health. It is therefore of interest to the public health research community to verify the validity of self-reported health data. We do this by analyzing data from a longitudinal household panel survey: the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP). In 2006, and again in 2008, hand grip strength was measured as part of the SOEP. The hand grip data can be compared with other indicators of health and well-being from the SOEP survey. In a first step, we examine short-term mortality outcomes predicted by changes in handgrip strength. Then we compare the predictive power of the results with those of a subjective indicator of well-being: overall life satisfaction. We find that both measures are related to mortality risk. However, the effects are quite independent. Thus we argue that changes in hand grip strength and overall life satisfaction capture two different aspects of health status and its changes. We therefore test this hypothesis by correlating the indicators with other survey-based health measures that were also taken in the SOEP in 2006 and 2008.

Keywords: grip strength, subjective health status measures, mortality, subjective well-being, SOEP

JEL Classification: C81, I12, J14

Suggested Citation

Ambrasat, Jens and Schupp, Juergen and Wagner, Gert G., Comparing the Predictive Power of Subjective and Objective Health Indicators: Changes in Handgrip Strength and Overall Satisfaction with Life as Predictors of Mortality (September 1, 2011). SOEPpaper No. 398. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1923027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1923027

Jens Ambrasat (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Juergen Schupp

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, D-10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9238 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/deutsch/das_institut/mitarbeiter/innen/26652.html?uid=jschupp

Institute for Sociology, Freie Universität ( email )

Garystr. 55
I
Berlin, D-14195
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.polsoz.fu-berlin.de/soziologie/mitarbeiter/b_hochschullehrer/schupp.html

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/index_html?lang=de&mainframe=http%3A//www.iza.org/de/webcontent/personnel/fellows

Gert G. Wagner

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany
+49 30 8 978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8 978 9200 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw.de/programme/jsp/MA.jsp?language=en&uid=gwagner

Berlin University of Technology ( email )

Straße des 17
Berlin, 10623
Germany
+30 8 978 9283 (Phone)

German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) ( email )

DIW Berlin
10108 Berlin, Berlin
Germany
+49 30 8978 9290 (Phone)
+49 30 8978 9109 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.diw/en/soep

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