"Old" People Often Believe They Are in Bad Health

People who identify as “old” are likelier to have a worse view of their health than those of the same age who don’t think of themselves as old, according to new research.

The findings, from researchers at the University of Kent, UK, used data from a study, the European Social Survey. The respondents, who were 70 or older, were asked to rate their health.

The conclusion: People living in societies where older people have lower status were likelier to have a negative view of their own health if they thought of themselves as “old.” On the other hand, people who lived in societies where older people have higher status were less likely to see their health in a negative light even if they identified as old.

The researchers said their conclusions could have major implications for European public policy, because raising the social status of older people would reduce negative connotations of old age and consequently would ensure that identifying as “old” wouldn’t negatively affect how people felt about their health.

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