Own expectations regarding length and future quality of life can differ from objective measures such as actuarial life expectancy. If so, this may have implications for health behaviour, seeking medical care and for methods used in health economic research. In this paper, we present evidence on own expectations regarding length and quality of life, using data obtained from a Dutch convenience sample (n=600). Data were obtained through a written questionnaire and a web-based survey. Own expectations regarding future quality of life were obtained by using the EQ-5D descriptive system on which respondents could indicate expected health profiles for the ages 60-90. We find that respondents significantly overestimate life expectancy (by 4.1 years, males 7.0 years and females 1.7 years), but appear to underestimate future quality of life from the age 70 onward. Regression analysis is used to explain individual expectations. Age, current health status and the perception of current lifestyle are especially important explanatory variables of people's own expectations regarding length and quality of life. Average age of death of relatives moreover explains self-estimated life expectancy, whereas self-estimated life expectancy explains expectations regarding quality of life. Given the influence inaccurate expectations may have on actual behaviour, more research on own expectations and their relation with actual behaviour is needed.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Life expectancy, Quality of life, Subjective expectations, The Netherlands
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.01.008, hdl.handle.net/1765/72663
Journal Social Science & Medicine
Citation
Brouwer, W.B.F, & van Exel, N.J.A. (2005). Expectations regarding length and health related quality of life: Some empirical findings. Social Science & Medicine, 61(5), 1083–1094. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.01.008