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The compression of morbidity debate in aging: an empirical test using the gerontological and geriatric population studies in Göteborg, Sweden (H70)

Journal article
Authors Richard Hessler
Bo G. Eriksson
Debashish Kumar Dey
Gunilla Steen
Valter Sundh
Bertil Steen
Published in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume 37
Issue 3
Pages 213-222
Publication year 2003
Published at Department of Sociology
Institute of Community Medicine, Dept of Geriatric Medicine
Pages 213-222
Language en
Keywords Compression of morbidity; Healthy aging; Longevity
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Social Sciences


The H70 longitudinal study of aging, Göteborg, Sweden is used to empirically test the compression of morbidity theory advanced by [Fries, 1980 and Fries and Crapo, 1981]. We reconceptualize compression as postponement of morbidity in the sense of decreasing amounts of illness for increasingly long life spans. Operationally, morbidity is defined as the average number of hospital days in the last year of life. The date of death and the date of 1-year prior to death define the risk period. The linear regression model with age at death, age at death squared, year of birth, and sex are statistically significant with the oldest having the fewest hospital days. The findings offer partial support for the compression of morbidity theory.

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