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Health and life satisfaction

This chapter describes how disabled Māori rate their health and overall life satisfaction, and compares the results with non-disabled Māori.

About health, life satisfaction, and well-being

People’s subjective assessments of their own lives provide important indicators of well-being that complement the more objective outcome measures. Subjective measures in the Disability Survey include people’s assessment of their own health status and their overall life satisfaction.

Health is one of the most important factors in people’s lives, affecting not only their physical and mental well-being, but also their opportunities to participate in education, work, and social activities, and to secure a good material standard of living. Health can therefore have a major effect on overall life satisfaction (OECD, 2011, p104).

Overall life satisfaction is a subjective assessment of how satisfied people are with their lives in general. As such, it can be seen as an over-arching indicator which reflects the outcomes of all the other dimensions of well-being covered in this report (OECD, 2011, p266).

Self-assessed health status

The Disability Survey asked people how they rated their own health. Disabled people were much less likely than non-disabled people to say their health was very good or excellent. In the Māori population, just 11 percent of disabled people said their health was excellent (compared with 35 percent for non-disabled), and 24 percent said it was very good (37 percent for non-disabled). Almost a third (32 percent) of disabled Māori rated their health as fair or poor, compared with just 6 percent of non-disabled Māori.

Among disabled Māori, males and females rated their health similarly. However, there were differences by age, particularly between adults and children (aged under 15). While 24 percent of children had excellent health status, the figure was just 8 percent for adults. Conversely, just 14 percent of children had fair or poor health, compared with 36 percent of adults.

Figure 13

Overall life satisfaction

We asked adult respondents to rate their overall life satisfaction, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is the lowest and 10 is the highest level of satisfaction. Almost half of all disabled Māori adults (48 percent) rated their life satisfaction as 8 or higher, and just 9 percent rated their satisfaction below five. However, disabled Māori were less likely than non-disabled to report high levels of satisfaction – 69 percent of non-disabled Māori adults rated their life satisfaction at eight or higher.

Figure 14

Within the disabled Māori population there was little difference in life satisfaction between males and females, but older people tended to report a higher level of satisfaction – 62 percent of disabled Māori aged 65 and over reported satisfaction levels of 8 or higher, compared with 45 percent of those aged between 15 and 64.

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