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Differences in self-rated health among older adults according to socioeconomic circumstances: the Bambuí Health and Aging Study

DOI: 10.1590/S0102-311X2005000300017

Keywords: aging health, social conditions, diagnosis of health situations.

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self-rated health is influenced by socioeconomic circumstances, but related differences in its structure have received little attention. the objective of this study was to examine whether self-rated health structure differs according to socioeconomic circumstances in later life. the study included 1,505 individuals (86.4%) residing in bambui and aged 60 years or older. correlates of self-rated health among lower-income older adults (monthly household income < us$ 240.00) and higher-income seniors were assessed. social network stood out as a major factor in the structure of self-rated health among the poorest. psychological distress was independently associated with worse self-rated health among the poorest, while perceptions by the wealthiest were broader, including psychological distress, insomnia, trypanosoma cruzi infection, use of medications, and access to health services. physician visits and hospitalizations were associated with self-rated health in both groups. our results show important differences in the structure of self-rated health according to socioeconomic circumstances and reinforce the need for policies to reduce health inequalities in later life.


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