The structure of self-reported health in chronic-disease patients

by Ron D. Hays, Anita Stewart

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This Note evaluates a multidimensional model of self-reported health status in 1,980 patients with one or more chronic medical conditions. It hypothesizes two dimensions of health: physical health, defined by measures of physical functioning, role limitations, satisfaction with physical ability, and mobility; and mental health, defined by depression, positive affect, anxiety, and feelings of belonging. Physical and mental health were correlated but distinct, sharing about 20 percent of variance in common. Correlations of 11 other indicators of health with the physical and mental health constructs corresponded to a priori hypotheses. The authors conclude that self-reports of physical and mental health are distinguishable and that both constructs need to be represented for comprehensive assessment of health status.

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