5185.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #5017

Measurement issues for health-related quality of life surveillance

Elena M Andresen, PhD and Victoria J Vahle, MPH. Department of Community Health, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, 3663 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108, 314-977-8130, andresen@slu.edu

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides four core and ten optional questions on health related quality of life (HRQOL). These have been studied for their measurement characteristics in both general and special populations. Attributes of HRQOL measures should be tested for: conceptual clarity; availability of population and special groups norms and standard values; appropriate measurement model; lack of item bias; low administrative and respondent burden; reliability; validity; responsiveness; the availability and testing of alternate modes; and adaptations to appropriate languages. The BRFSS HRQOL questions have been tested for most of these attributes. The evidence for high marks is best for the general population, with some evidence for attributes in special groups (e.g., disability and ethnic populations). Evidence of applications to surveillance compared to research applications also is stronger. Strengths of the BRFSS questions include its brevity and low burden; strong discriminant and convergent validity; retest reliability (and some measures have evidence of proxy reliability); and the existence of extensive population normative data at national and state levels. Some measures show problems with skewness: floor effects for groups with disability, and ceiling effects in healthy groups. Changing scoring options may alleviate some of these problems, for example, using a dichotomous response for mental health rather than a continuous "days" classification. Research applications of the BRFSS questions are sparse, and future work will need to examine alternate scoring patterns and potential scales, and responsiveness of these measures to HRQOL change.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1. form criteria for selecting among competing survey measures 2. understand the strength of the evidence for a set of quality of life measures 3. be able to interpret existing data on quality of life from the CDC

Keywords: Quality of Life, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a survey supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The measures reviewed in this session are part of the BRFSS. These are in the public domain, so no conflict of interest is li
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA