Use of Relevancy Ratings by Target Respondents to Develop Health-Related Quality of Life Measures

An Example with African-American Elderly

Published in: Quality of Life Research, v. 8, 1999, p. 749-768

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1999

by William Cunningham, Tanya Burton, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson, Raynard Kington, Ron D. Hays

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BACKGROUND: Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) instruments assess functioning and well-being. Generic HRQOL measures are intended to be relevant to everyone whereas population-targeted measures are designed to be relevant to a particular population. METHODS: We asked 99 African-American elderly (mean age 72, 33 % female, 47 % less than high school education) to rate the relevancy of 33 HRQOL items drawn largely from existing instruments. The authors assessed the reliability of the relevancy ratings across respondents, rank-ordered the items by relevancy, and tested the significance of difference in relevancy ratings for each item compared to the average of all other items. They also examined the associations of the relevancy ratings with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS: The relevancy ratings were reliable (intraclass correlation = 0.71) and relevancy was generally distinct from HRQOL and demographic characteristics. Items assessing spirituality and weight-related health status were rated as significantly more relevant than other types of items. Generic HRQOL items were not rated as highly relevant. CONCLUSIONS: HRQOL measures assessing spirituality and weight-related concepts are important for future studies of HRQOL in African-American elderly. The method of identifying these concepts used in this study should be valuable in developing new measures targeted to other sociodemographically or clinically defined subgroups.

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