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Being old and ill’ across different countries: Social status, age identification and older people’s subjective health

Marques, Sibila, Swift, Hannah J., Vauclair, Christine-Melanie, Lima, Maria Luisa, Bratt, Christopher, Abrams, Dominic (2014) Being old and ill’ across different countries: Social status, age identification and older people’s subjective health. Psychology & Health, 30 (6). pp. 699-714. ISSN 0887-0446. (doi:10.1080/08870446.2014.938742) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:61205)

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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.


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.


The results provide an important insight into being ascribed a higher social status is likely to have a protective function for older people.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/08870446.2014.938742
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Emily Fell
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2017 10:51 UTC
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2021 11:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abrams, Dominic:
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