Conceptualization and Measurement of Health for Children in the Health Insurance Study

by Marvin Eisen, Cathy A. Donald, John E. Ware, Robert H. Brook

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Reviews published literature and documents health status measures used in the Health Insurance Study for children aged 13 and younger. Scaling studies supported construction of ten summated ratings scales pertaining to (1) mental health — anxiety, depression, positive well-being, mental health index; (2) social health-social relations; (3) general health — current health, prior health, resistance and susceptibility to illness, general health ratings index; and (4) parental satisfaction with child development. Four functional status measures were constructed for ages 0-4: two single-item physical activity limitations and self-care activity limitations scores and two dichotomous role activity limitations and total functional limitations scores. Four were constructed for ages 5-13: three dichotomous role activity limitations, self-care and mobility limitations, and total functional limitations scores; and one cumulative physical activity scale. Measures appear sufficiently reliable and valid for testing hypotheses about the effects of health care policies on health status.

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