Intimations of mortality: perceived age of leaving middle age as a predictor of future health outcomes within the Whitehall II study


Kuper, H; Marmot, M; (2003) Intimations of mortality: perceived age of leaving middle age as a predictor of future health outcomes within the Whitehall II study. Age and ageing, 32 (2). pp. 178-184. ISSN 0002-0729 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/32.2.178

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:to determine the association between the subjective rate of ageing and future health outcomes. DESIGN:prospective cohort study (Whitehall II study). At the third phase of the study (1991-1993), participants were asked at what age they think most people leave middle age. Participants were followed until the end of phase 5 (1997-2000), so that mean length of follow-up was 7 years. SETTING:London based office staff in 20 civil service departments. SUBJECTS:5,262 male and 2,277 female civil servants aged 40-60. MEASURES:validated new cases of coronary heart disease and health function, measured by the SF-36 General Health Survey, at phase 5. RESULTS:perceived age of leaving middle age increased with age, self-rated health and grade of employment, and was higher in women. Adjusting for age and sex, people who believed middle age ends </=60 years, compared to >/=70 years, were at higher risk for coronary heart disease (HR=1.43, 95% CI=1.05-1.94), fatal coronary heart disease and non-fatal myocardial infarction (HR=1.52, 0.95-2.42), and poor physical (OR=1.29, 1.10-1.50) and mental (OR=1.25, 1.07-1.45) functioning during follow-up. Adjustment for self-rated health, employment grade, health behaviours, social networks, control and baseline health status, respectively, did not eliminate these associations. CONCLUSIONS:the reported age at which middle age ends predicts future health outcomes. We hypothesise that perceived end of middle age acts as a general summary of the subjective rate of ageing.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Research Centre: The International Centre for Evidence in Disability
Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 12615561
Web of Science ID: 181832000012
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/18382

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