Background: The single-item question on self-rated health has been used in many studies as a global measure of general health. It is unclear whether ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands attach the same meaning to the single-item question as the native Dutch people do. Objective: To assess the validity of using the single-item question on self-rated health in comparing health status in native Dutch with first generation Turkish and Moroccan ethnic groups in the Netherlands. Methods: The associations between self-reported chronic illnesses and self-rated health were used to examine convergent validity, and self-rated health and health care use for predictive validity using logistic regression analysis. Results: In general, chronic illnesses were associated with fair health and poor health ratings in all the ethnic groups but there were important differences in associations between the groups. There were significant interactions between ethnicity and chronic illnesses on fair health, and poor health, independent of socio-demographical factors. There was also significant interaction between ethnicity and self-rated health on health care uses. These findings indicate that the meaning(s) attached to the single-item question differ between these ethnic groups. Conclusion: The study findings suggest that the use of the single-item question on self-rated health to compare native Dutch with the first generation Turkish and Moroccan ethnic groups is not valid. These findings imply that researchers need to be cautious about the interpretation of self-rated health ratings when comparing different ethnic groups. A qualitative research is needed to find out more about how these single-item ratings are being interpreted by Turkish and Moroccan elderly in the Netherlands.

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Keywords Elderly, Ethnic minority groups, Self-rated health, The Netherlands, Validity
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Journal Public Health
Agyemang, C.O, Denktaş, S, Bruijnzeels, M.A, & Foets, M.M.E. (2006). Validity of the single-item question on self-rated health status in first generation Turkish and Moroccans versus native Dutch in the Netherlands. Public Health, 120(6), 543–550. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2006.03.002