Too much self-confidence can endanger health
Older people who overestimate their health go to the doctor less often. This can have serious consequences for their health, for example, when illnesses are detected too late. By contrast, people who think they are sicker than they actually are visit the doctor more often. This is what a new study by Sonja Spitzer from the Institute for Demography at the University of Vienna and Mujaheed Shaikh from the Hertie School in Berlin found based on data from over 80,000 Europeans aged 50 and older.

The researchers analyzed data from over 80,000 Europeans aged 50 and older using statistical methods. The data were collected as part of the SHARE study (Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe) between 2006 and 2013. First, the participants were asked how they assessed their health, for example, whether they had problems getting up from a chair after sitting for a long period. Then, the participants had to actually get up from a chair during a test—this way it can be determined whether someone overestimates, underestimates, or correctly assesses their health. The researchers also took misjudgments related to memory and mobility into account. Overall, the majority of survey participants correctly assess their health (79%), 11% overestimate, and 10% underestimate themselves.