BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: This study assesses the extent to which the RAND-36/SF-36 items measure physical and mental health (PH and MH), as implied by existing summary scoring systems. METHODS: A total of 1,714 heterogeneous cancer and HIV/AIDS patients were recruited from five institutions. Of these, 56% were women; 81% Caucasians; and about 10% were from each of the major cancer types and HIV/AIDS. RESULTS: Analyses of the SF-36 confirmed the two dimensions of health namely physical and mental. However, item fit statistics and residual factor analysis revealed that some items intended to represent the PH dimension fit better with the MH dimension. CONCLUSION: This paper demonstrated the value of Rasch residual factor analysis for understanding and enhancing interpretation of health.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.