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Is health really the most important value? - Results of a representative survey of the German general population concerning the subjective meaning of health

Is health really the most important value? - Results of a representative survey of the German general population concerning the subjective meaning of health

Gesundheitswesen ) 72(12): 897-903

The aim of this study was to investigate which meaning is attributed to health by the general population. Furthermore, the relationship between health satisfaction and health importance was also analysed. A sample of 4,808 representatively selected subjects from the general German population judged the importance and the satisfaction with several life domains, including health, using the questions on life satisfaction FLZ (M). Moreover, sociodemographic variables (sex, age, socioeconomic status) and psychological variables (self-esteem, resilience, anxiety and depression) were collected. Health is the most important life domain. The importance of health increases with increasing age. However, there are no sex differences and SES (socio-economic status) differences concerning the importance of health. Subjective satisfaction with health and health importance are only marginally correlated (r=0.08). High degrees of self-esteem and resilience are associated with a high importance of health. Anxiety and depression show only weak relationships to the importance of health. In the German general population health has a very high subjective significance. This is not only true for handicapped or ill people, but for all subsamples of the society. Therefore, a general plea for an understanding of the importance of health is not necessary, not even for subgroups. Preventive activity can be based on the general understanding of the meaning of health, but it should pursue specific health- related goals for target groups.

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Accession: 053992564

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PMID: 20104448

DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1246151

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