Use of the SF-36 and Other Health-Related Quality of Life Measures to Assess Persons with Disabilities

Published in: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, v. 83, suppl. 2, Dec. 2002, p. S4-S9

by Ron D. Hays, Harlan Hahn, Grant N. Marshall

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This article evaluates the appropriateness of existing approaches to the assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for persons with disabilities. The authors compare the conceptual model of HRQOL from the Medical Outcomes Study with the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. In addition, they examine the attitudes toward disease burden that arise from these 2 models. The authors note how values or the importance attached to domains of health can change with fluctuations in physical health. Further, they summarize arguments in favor of developing targeted measures of persons with disabilities. Finally, they discuss some methodologic issues in assessing physical functioning, attributions to health versus disability, and mode of administration. The authors conclude that users of standard HRQOL measures need to be aware of their limitations for assessing persons with disabilities.

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