Dr. Apostolos Davillas is Principal Investigator on an ESRC research project on the survey measurement of health and its implications for biosocial research. Prof. Andrew M. Jones (UoYork) is the Co-Investigator for this project. The project is scheduled to begin in June 2021 for 18 months.

The interplay between socioeconomic circumstances and health is of major importance for well-being and for human capital investment. The majority of the research on this topic is conducted using self-reported health measures. The fact that self-reported measures have been used widely in several disciplines is not surprising as these measures are routinely collected in major national and international surveys. The popularity of self-reported measures of overall health is driven by their simplicity and low collection costs however there are concerns that there may be biases in these measures. Existing evidence is inconclusive: some shows that there are discrepancies between self-reported health measures and directly measured health status, while other studies show that mapping of biological risks into categorical measures of self-assessed health varies with individual characteristics, known as “cut-point shift”. 

In this project, we will employ data from the ESRC funded national panel, Understanding Society: the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to make a number of contributions to the survey measurement of health in the context of social science research. Specifically, we will focus on individuals’ response inconsistencies in the most popular self-reported health measure, self-assessed health, and on its interpretation as a measure of individuals’ underlying health. The project will explore the implications for existing social science research that is based on self-reported health measures. 

Updates and output of this research project will be available here and via the project’s Twitter account (@MeasureHealth).