Researchers at the University of Vienna and the Hertie School, Berlin, studied how self-confidence can affect our health in old age. The study is published in The Journal of the Economics of Aging.
The researchers analyzed data from over 80,000 Europeans aged 50 and older, who participated in the SHARE study (Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe) in the years 2006–2013. In the study, the participants were asked to make assessments about their health, memory, and mobility.
The results revealed that, out of the participants, 79% correctly assess, 11% overestimate, and 10% underestimate their health.
The perception of health also varied according to age, nationality, and education. For instance, people from Southern European countries tended to overestimate their health, whereas people from Central and Eastern Europe often appear to underestimate their health.
How Self-confidence Can Endanger Health
The researchers contend that such degrees of confidence in health estimates can impact doctor’s visits, availing of preventive care, population health, and mortality rates.
This is because people who overestimate their health go to the doctor less and this prevents them from getting a timely diagnosis for any disease they might be having. On the other hand, people who underestimate their health actually pay very close attention to their wellness. They make more doctor’s visits by 21% and are more open to availing preventive care.
The researchers appealed that people should avail health education and health literacy more to correctly assess their health and make use of preventive care for healthier lives.
To Know More You May Refer To
Spitzer, Sonja & Shaikh, Mujaheed. (2022). Health misperception and healthcare utilisation among older Europeans. The Journal of the Economics of Ageing. 22. 100383. 10.1016/j.jeoa.2022.100383.