Cross National Comparison of Underestimation of Chronic Conditions in Surveys of Older Adults in the Developing World

Mary McEniry, University of Michigan
Jacob McDermott, University of Michigan

While there has been an increase in population studies of older adults around the world there are concerns regarding the quality of data in these settings in terms of underestimation of chronic conditions. In this paper we examine underestimation of chronic conditions using a subset of recently compiled cross national data (RELATE: Research on Early Life and Aging Trends and Effects) from over 147,000 older adults from major studies of aging in low, middle and high income countries. We use RELATE data to examine the degree to which underestimation of health by older adults from surveys affects modeling results using biomarkers and symptom questions. Results show that underestimation may be problematic in terms of the magnitude of association but not the direction of association. Data quality is an important issue in population studies of older adults but under certain conditions the data are consistent and inferences can be made.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Population Aging; Gender, Race and Ethnicity