Facets of Subjective Health from Early Adulthood to Old Age

Carol E. Franz, Deborah Finkel, Matthew S. Panizzon, Kelly Spoon, Kaare Christensen, Margaret Gatz, William S. Kremen, Robert Krueger, Jenae Neiderhiser, Chandra Reynolds, Nancy L. Pedersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Subjective health is a complex indicator predicting longevity independent of objective health. Few studies examine genetic and environmental mechanisms underlying different facets of subjective health across the life course. Method: Three subjective health measures were examined in 12,900 twins (Mage = 63.38, range = 25-102) from nine studies in the Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies Consortium: self-rated health (SRH), health compared with others (COMP), and health interfering with activities (ACT). Results: Analyses indicated age and sex differences in mean scores depending on the measure. SRH and ACT showed significant linear and non-linear moderation by age for individual differences in both genetic and environmental variance. Significant sex differences in components of variance were found for SRH and ACT, but not COMP. Discussion: Subjective health appears to be dependent on frame of reference and reflect different aspects of health. Results suggest different genetic and environmental mechanisms underlie each facet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-171
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Interplay of Genes and Environment Across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) is supported by the National Institutes of Health Grant R01 AG037985. SATSA was supported by Grants R01 AG04563 and R01 AG10175, the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, the Swedish Council For Working Life and Social Research (FAS; 97:0147:1B, 2009-0795), and Swedish Research Council (825-2007-7460, 825-2009-6141). OCTO-Twin was supported by Grant R01 AG08861. Gender was supported by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, The Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson's Foundation, The Swedish Council for Social Research, and the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research. TOSS was supported by Grant R01 MH54610 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The Danish Twin Registry is supported by grants from The National Program for Research Infrastructure 2007 from the Danish Agency for Science and Innovation, the Velux Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (P01 AG08761). The Minnesota Twin Study of Adult Development and Aging was supported by NIA Grant R01 AG 06886. VETSA was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants NIA R01 AG018384, R01 AG018386, R01 AG022381, R03 AG046413, and R01 AG022982, and, in part, with resources of the VA San Diego Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. The Cooperative Studies Program of the Office of Research & Development of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has provided financial support for the development and maintenance of the Vietnam Era Twin (VET) Registry. This MIDUS study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development and by National Institute on Aging Grant R01 AG20166.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.


  • genetic and environmental influences
  • self-rated health
  • subjective health
  • twins

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