Trends in good self-rated health in Germany between 1995 and 2014: do age and gender matter?

  • Stefanie SperlichEmail author
  • Juliane Tetzlaff
  • Siegfried Geyer
Original article



This study analyzes longitudinal trends in self-rated health (SRH) by taking age- and gender-specific differences into account.


Data of 29,251 women and 26,967 men were obtained from the German Socio-Economic Panel between 1995 and 2014. Generalized Estimation Equation analysis for logistic regression was used to estimate changes in odds of (very) good SRH over time. Development of (un)healthy life expectancy was calculated by applying the Sullivan method.


While in women, the odds of good SRH increased significantly over time for the ages 41–50 to 71–80 years, improvements among men were most apparent for the ages 61–70 and 71–80 years. By contrast, for both genders, no improvements in SRH were found in the youngest (31–40 years) and eldest age group (81–90 years) and in men aging 51–60 years. Over time, healthy life expectancy at age 31 increased by 3 years in women and 2 years in men, leading to a reduced but not eliminated gender gap in SRH.


Our findings support the hypothesis of relative compression of morbidity. However, trends in SRH differed according to age and gender, calling for health promotion efforts that meet diverse needs at different stages of life.


Self-rated health Germany Healthy life expectancy Sullivan method Compression Morbidity 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

38_2019_1235_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 33 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Sperlich
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juliane Tetzlaff
    • 1
  • Siegfried Geyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Sociology, OE 5420Hannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany

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