Health misperception and healthcare utilisation among older Europeans

Spitzer, S. ORCID: & Shaikh, M. (2022). Health misperception and healthcare utilisation among older Europeans. The Journal of the Economics of Ageing 22 e100383. 10.1016/j.jeoa.2022.100383.

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Health misperception can have serious consequences on health. Despite their relevance, the role of such biases in determining healthcare utilisation is severely underexplored. Here we study the relationship between health perception and doctor visits for the population 50+ in Europe. We conceptualise health misperception as arising from either overconfidence or underconfidence, where overconfidence is measured as overestimation of health and underconfidence is measured as underestimation of health. Comparing objective performance measures and their self-reported equivalents from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we find that individuals who overestimate their health visit the doctor 17.0% less often than individuals who correctly assess their health, which is crucial for preventive care such as screenings. In contrast, individuals who underestimate their health visit the doctor more often (21.4% more). Effects are similar for dentist visits, but we find no effects on hospital stays. The results are robust to several sensitivity tests and, more important, to various conceptualisations of the health perception measure.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Healthcare utilisation; Health perception; Overconfidence and underconfidence; Doctor visits; SHARE data
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 31 May 2022 10:38
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 10:38

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