|Title||Does self-reported health bias the measurement of health inequalities in U.S. adults? Evidence using anchoring vignettes from the Health and Retirement Study.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Dowd, JB, Todd, M|
|Journal||The Journals of Gerontology, Series B|
|Keywords||Adult, African Continental Ancestry Group, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Attitude to Health, Bias, Disability Evaluation, Educational Status, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Geriatric Assessment, Health Status Indicators, Health Surveys, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Socioeconomic factors, United States|
OBJECTIVES: Measurement of health inequalities based on self-reports may be biased if individuals use response scales in systematically different ways. We use anchoring vignettes to test and adjust for reporting differences by education, race/ethnicity, and gender in self-reported health in 6 domains (pain, sleep, mobility, memory, shortness of breath, and depression).
METHOD: Using data from the 2006 U.S. Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the 2007 Disability Vignette Survey, we estimated generalized ordered probit models of the respondent's rating of each vignette character's health problem, allowing cut-points to vary by age, gender, education, and race/ethnicity. We then used one-step hierarchical ordered probit (HOPIT) models to jointly estimate the respondent's cut-points from the vignettes and the severity of the respondent's own health problems based on these vignette cut-points.
RESULTS: We found strong evidence of reporting differences by age, gender, education, and race/ethnicity, with the magnitude depending on the specific health domain. Overall, traditional models not accounting for reporting differences underestimated the magnitude of health inequalities by education and race/ethnicity.
DISCUSSION: These results suggest caution in relying on self-reported health measures to quantify and explain health disparities by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity/ethnicity in the United States. The findings support expansion of the use of anchoring vignettes to properly account for reporting differences in self-reports of health.
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Health behavior/Medical research/Gerontology/Adults
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