The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the elderly?s health capital factors on subjective well-being. Through the use of cohort perspectives and panel data in Taiwan, the basic hypothec is health capital factors (1996 health capital, health-related physical and mental functioning, investment by social support system, and health care / insurance coverage) are able to predict 1999 subjective well-being (perceived health, depressive symptoms, and life satisfaction) after controlling for socio-demographic factors.
Statistical evidences clo show that the unique contribution of the health capital factors (the incremental R2) was dominant in predicting all three subjective well-being measures. The socio-demographic characteristics only play a small role in explaining the subjective well-being for the elderly in Taiwan. Education was still a useful predictor for the 1999 perceived health and perceived life satisfaction. Also, female elderly were some what less likely to have perceived depression and perceived life satisfaction that for male elderly after controlling the health capital of the elderly.
Overall, the 1996 health capital of the elderly in Taiwan was the most powerful factors to predict the 1999 perceived depression followed by perceived health, and by life satisfaction in order. In addition, each of the predictors including 1996 perceived health, perceived depression and life satisfaction together with physical and mental health, as well as social support was associated with the 1999 perceived depression and life satisfaction. Similarly, with few exceptions, most of the 1996 health capital factors predicted the 1999 perceived health.
Since the health capital factors are strongly associated with the subjective well-being. It seems important to invest health capital for health promotion. Early intervention and prevention (investments) on all of the previous health capital measure may make better outcome .Therefore, integrating into senior centers programs of health education and health prevention aimed at improving elders? perceptions of their health may effect the influence of this subjective well-being now and on the future.