Background: Subjective expectations regarding future health are rarely studied, yet may have implications for medical decision making, health behaviour and health economic analysis. Objective: To study people's subjective expectations regarding length and future quality of life in Hungary and compare these with previous findings from the Netherlands. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was performed, using a questionnaire that was put on a highly frequented web journal during 1 day. Main socio-demographic variables and health status of the voluntary participants were registered using the EQ-5D questionnaire. People were asked about the age they expected to live and the health status they expected to have at ages 60, 70, 80 and 90, using the EQ-5D descriptive system. Responses were matched and compared to age- and gender-specific life expectancy data from the Hungarian National Statistics and to age- and gender-specific EQ-5D scores from a prior nationally representative survey in Hungary. Results: In total, 9407 people were included in the analysis with mean age of 36.1 (SD 10.6) years, mainly qualified (degree 74.0%), employed (86.0%) men (67.1%). People overestimated their life expectancy (women, 1.6; men, 8.2 years) and expected a sharp deterioration in health at the age 70. Age, current health status, perception of a healthy lifestyle and kins' age at death were important explanatory factors for subjective expectations. Subjective life expectancy correlates strongly with expected future health status. Conclusions: The striking similarities between two surveys from distinct nations suggest that people's (mis)expectations regarding length and future quality of life are probably rather generalizable between jurisdictions within Europe.

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Health Expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Péntek, M., Brodszky, V., Gulácsi, Á. L., Hajdú, O., van Exel, J., Brouwer, W., & Gulacsi, L. (2012). Subjective expectations regarding length and health-related quality of life in Hungary: Results from an empirical investigation. Health Expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy. doi:10.1111/j.1369-7625.2012.00797.x