Health Perception and Reporting among the Vietnamese Elderly: Implications for Understanding Gender Differences in Old-Age Health Outcomes

Bussarawan Teerawichitchainan, Singapore Management University

Past research posits gender is a significant marker of later-life health vulnerability in less-developed countries. Policy makers are concerned that older women are at risk of poor health. However, little is known about how older adults in these settings perceive and report health status and to what extent such patterns affect the observed health outcomes. This study describes gender differences in health perception and reporting among the Vietnamese elderly and discusses the implications of such differentials on health outcomes. Two health indicators, self-rated health and hypertension, are examined. Data allow an assessment of subjective and objective measures of hypertension. Results demonstrate a complex picture of how actual health statuses and perception can differ by gender. Evidence suggests gender is but one of several dimensions that differentiate health in later life. While older women are more likely to be vulnerable because of their survival to later ages and widowhood, they do not necessarily have poorer health than men.

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Presented in Poster Session 2