Self-Rated Health Predicts Mortality in Very Old Men—the Manitoba Follow-Up Study

  • Christian R. Hanson University of Manitoba
  • Philip D. St John University of Manitoba
  • Robert B. Tate University of Manitoba
Keywords: self-rated health, subjective health, mortality, cohort study


Self-rated health (SRH) predicts death, but there are few studies over long-time horizons that are able to explore the effect age may have on the relationship between SRH and mortality.

1. To determine how SRH evolves over 20 years; and 2. To determine if SRH predicts death in very old men.

We analyzed a prospective cohort study of men who were fit for air crew training in the Second World War. In 1996, a regular questionnaire was administered to the 1,779 surviving participants. SRH was elicited with a 5-point Likert Scale with the categories: excellent, very good, good, fair and poor/bad. We examined the age-specific distribution of SRH in these categories from the age of 75 to 95 years, to the end of the follow-up period in 2018. We constructed age-specific Cox proportional hazard models with an outcome of time to death.

SRH declined with age. The gradient in risk of death persisted across all ages; those with poor/fair/bad SRH had consistently higher mortality rates. However, the discrimination between good and excellent was less in those aged 85+.

SRH declines with advancing age, but continues to predict death in older men.

Author Biographies

Christian R. Hanson, University of Manitoba
Section of Geriatric Medicine
Philip D. St John, University of Manitoba
Section of Geriatric Medicine; The Centre on Aging
Robert B. Tate, University of Manitoba
The Centre on Aging; Department of Community Health Sciences
How to Cite
Hanson, C. R., St John, P. D., & Tate, R. B. (2019). Self-Rated Health Predicts Mortality in Very Old Men—the Manitoba Follow-Up Study. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 22(4), 199-204.
Original Research