Falls and subjective health rating among the elderly: Evidence from two Israeli samples

Julie Cwikel, Giora Kaplan, Vita Barell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Prevention and treatment of falls in the elderly is one of the challenges facing practitioners today. Falls are known to be associated with health status and demographic variables, however relatively little is known about how falls affect the health perceptions of elderly persons. Data from two Israeli samples were analyzed to examine the relationship between reported falls and self-rated health. The first sample was collected in 1978 in home interviews from 96% of residents aged 65 and over of the town of Kiryat Ono (N = 1276). The second sample was collected from a national probability sample of 3494 urban Israelis in 1985, in home interviews. One-year incidence of falls was estimated from both samples at 23-24% for those over 65. Data from both samples showed that recent falls are negatively associated with subjective health rating. In Kiryat Ono, falls interacted with reported chronic conditions, so that the effect of a fall on subjective health status was only apparent in those with few chronic conditions. Among those who reported 4 or more chronic conditions, the occurrence of a fall had no independent effect on subjective health rating. In multivariate analyses of the national data, falls, and particularly those that happened in the home, or that required a visit to the emergency room had a negative effect on subjective health rating, after adjustment for age, sex, education, mobility and visual impairments and use of sleeping pills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1990


  • accidents
  • elderly
  • falls
  • subjective health rating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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