Background: Self-rated health (SRH) is a widely used indicator of general health and multiple studies have supported the predictive validity of SRH in older populations concerning future health, functional decline, disability, and mortality. The aim of this study was to use the theoretical framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) to create a better understanding of factors associated with SRH among community-dwelling older people in urban and rural areas.
Methods: The study design was population-based and cross-sectional. Participants were 185 Icelanders, randomly selected from a national registry, community-dwelling, 65-88 years old, 63% urban residents, and 52% men. Participants were asked: "In general, would you say your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?" Associations with SRH were analyzed with ordinal logistic regression. Explanatory variables represented aspects of body functions, activities, participation, environmental factors and personal factors components of the ICF.
Results: Univariate analysis revealed that SRH was significantly associated with all analyzed ICF components through 16 out of 18 explanatory variables. Multivariate analysis, however, demonstrated that SRH had an independent association with five variables representing ICF body functions, activities, and personal factors components: The likelihood of a better SRH increased with advanced lower extremity capacity (adjusted odds ratio [adjOR] = 1.05, p < 0.001), upper extremity capacity (adjOR = 1.13, p = 0.040), household physical activity (adjOR = 1.01, p = 0.016), and older age (adjOR = 1.09, p = 0.006); but decreased with more depressive symptoms (adjOR = 0.79, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The results highlight a collection of ICF body functions, activities and personal factors associated with higher SRH among community-dwelling older people. Some of these, such as physical capacity, depressive symptoms, and habitual physical activity are of particular interest due to their potential for change through public health interventions. The use of ICF conceptual framework and widely accepted standardized assessments should make these results comparable and relevant in an international context.
London: BioMed Central, 2011. Vol. 11, 670- p.
This research was supported by grants from the Icelandic Research Fund (050410031); the University of Akureyri Research Fund; the KEA University Fund; the Erik and Anne-Marie Detlof's Fundation, Umea University; the JC Kempe Memorial Foundation; the Icelandic Physical Therapy Association; the Icelandic Gerontological Society; and the Icelandic Gerontological Council. Figure 1 was prepared to this study by the National Land Survey of Iceland.