English title: ‘Being Old and Ill’ Across Different Countries: Social Status, Age Identification and Older People’s Subjective Health

Author(s): Sibila Marques - Hannah J. Swift - Christin-Melanie Vauclair - Maria Luísa Lima - Christopher Bratt - Dominic Abrams -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015


Objective: It has been suggested that the extent to which older adults identify with ‘old-age’ is associated with greater subjective ill-health. Based on social identity theory, we hypothesise that the societal social status of older people should moderate this relationship, such that the effect of age-identification on subjective health should be stronger in countries in which older people have lower social status. Design and main outcome measures: Subjective health, age identification and the perceived status of people over 70 were assessed in a subsample of older respondents (N = 6185) of the 2008/2009 European Social Survey. We examined whether country-level differences in the perceived status of older adults moderated the effect of age identification on subjective ill-health. Results: 20% of the total variance in older people’s subjective ill-health was due to country differences. The hypothesised cross-level interaction was significant in that the negative association between old age identification and subjective health was stronger in countries where the social status of older people is perceived to be lower. Conclusion: The results provide an important insight into being ascribed a higher social status is likely to have a protective function for older people.

Volume: 30

Issue: 6

From page no: 699

To page no: 714

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2014.938742

Journal: Psychology and Health

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