DIMENSIONS OF HEALTH AMONG THE ELDERLY IN POLAND AND CROATIA
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On the basis of the WHO definition of health, we aimed at exploring the model of health and identifying the most important dimensions of health among the elderly in two Central European countries: Poland and Croatia. Randomly chosen elderly aged 65-85 from Krakow (Poland) and from Zagreb and some smaller cities in Croatia were interviewed on various measures of health and life satisfaction. Factor analysis was used to explore the database (528 and 286 interviews with Polish and Croatian elderly, respectively). Four components of health, explaining over 60 percent of variance, were discovered in both countries. The first (termed physical limitations, consisting of: ADL-activities of daily living, IADL-instrumental activities of daily living, physical and role functioning scales) and the fourth component (termed physical complaints, formed by chronic conditions and perceived bodily pain) were recognized as the biological dimension of health. The second component, accounting in our opinion for the psychological dimension of health, correlated with two life satisfaction scales, mental health scale, loneliness and depression scales. The third component, formed by three sub-scales of the social support interactions scale, can be viewed as the social dimension of health. Self-rated health among Polish elderly correlated with the fourth component and among Croatian elderly weakly with the second component. Additionally, the social functioning scale correlated with the first component in Croatia. Obtained results suggest that biological dimension of health with regard specifically to functional limitations is the major determinant of health in old age, however, all dimensions are essential in defining health perception in the elderly in both these Central European countries. With some exceptions, mainly the same scales in each country form the core structure of each component.
- T.Knurowski, Collegium Medicum Uniwersytetu Jagiellonskiego, Katedra Epidemiologii i Medycyny Zapobiegawczej, ul. Kopernika 7, 31-034 Kraków, Poland
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