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Psychological factors related to physical, social,and mental dimensions of the SF-36: a populationbasedstudy of middle-aged women and men
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Division of Health, Activity and Care. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Social Medicine and Public Health Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2010 (English)In: patient related outcome measures, Vol. 1, 153-162 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) are increasingly used as patient-reported outcome measures in routine health care. Research on determinants and correlates of HRQoL has, therefore, grown in importance. Earlier studies have generally been patient-based and few of them have examined differences between women and men. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between psychological factors and physical, social, and mental dimensions of HRQoL, as measured by the Medical Outcome Study Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36), in a normal population and to see if observed relations were the same for women and men.

Methods: Relations between scale scores for the eight scales of SF-36 and scale scores for Self-esteem, Sense of Coherence, Perceived Control, Depressed Mood (CES-D), and Cynicism were assessed through partial correlation and multiple linear regression analyses on a sample of 505 women and 502 men (aged 45–69 years), stratified for sex and adjusted for effects of age, presence of disease, back pain, lifestyle, and social support.

Results: All psychological factors tested, except Cynicism, were significantly correlated to all scales of the SF-36 for women and men (Pearson product-moment partial correlation coefficient, |r| = 0.11–0.63 and |r| = 0.11–0.60, respectively). The addition of psychological factors into regression models resulted in significant total explained variance (R2) changes in all scales of the SF-36 for both sexes. Any discrepancies between women and men pertained more to the strength of relationships rather than the significance of different psychological factors.

Conclusion: In this population-based study, psychological factors showed significant correlation, for women and men alike, with the physical and social scales of SF-36, as well as the mental scales. These findings suggest that assessments of HRQoL are not merely a measure of absolute function but are also dependent on people’s perception of their ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dove Medical Press Limited , 2010. Vol. 1, 153-162 p.
Keyword [en]
Health-related quality of life, patient-reported outcome measures, population
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-66496DOI: 10.2147/PROM.S13209OAI: diva2:404668
Available from: 2011-03-17 Created: 2011-03-17 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aspects of health-related quality of life: Associations with psychological and biological factors, and use as patient reported outcome in routine health care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspects of health-related quality of life: Associations with psychological and biological factors, and use as patient reported outcome in routine health care
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is increasingly recognised as an important patient-reported outcome in health care research. However, the use is still restricted and several questions remain about the value and feasibility of using measures of HRQoL in routine health care. The general aims of the thesis were therefore to increase the understanding of these issues by studying 1) associations of HRQoL with psychological and biological factors, 2) comorbidity adjustments of HRQoL measurement results, and 3) the patient-perceived value and feasibility regarding the use of measures of HRQoL as patient-reported outcome in routine health care.

Methods Three different data sets were used; baseline data (questionnaire, anthropometric, and biological) from the ongoing Life conditions, Stress, and Health Study (n=1007, papers I and II), data from a population survey from the County Council of Östergötland in combination with data from two national Swedish registries, the National Inpatient Register and the Causes of Death Register (n=6086, paper III), and data (questionnaire) from the multicentre Swedish Health Promoting Hospitals Network Health outcome assessment project (n=463, paper IV). The HRQoL measures used were the SF-36 and the EQ-5D. Statistical methods include variance, correlation and regression analyses.

Results Psychological resources (Self-esteem, Sense of Coherence, and Perceived Control) as well as psychological risk factors (depressive mood) were found to relate independently to HRQoL (SF-36) in the expected directions (positive relations for resources and negative relations for risk factors), but with fewer sex differences than expected (Paper I). Low HRQoL (SF-36) was found to relate to higher levels of inflammatory biological factors (C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6, and MatrixMetalloProteinase-9), and, especially regarding Interleukin-6, many association remained significant, though attenuated, after adjustment for factors of known importance to HRQoL (age, sex, disease, lifestyle and psychological factors) (Paper II). A new comorbidity index, the Health-related Quality of Life Comorbidity Index (HRQL-CI), explicitly developed for use in HRQoL outcomes studies, showed higher explanatory power (higher R2 values) than the commonly used Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) regarding impact of comorbidity on HRQoL (SF-36 and EQ-5D). However, regarding mortality the CCI discriminated better between those who died within a year from answering the HRQoL questionnaires, died within ten years, or who were still alive after ten years. This result is in line with the CCI’s original purpose as a mortality predictor. Using morbidity data from mandatory, highly valid national health data bases was found to be useful in a large study of this kind, where using data from medical records might be impractical. (Paper III). Using measures of HRQoL as patient-reported outcome measures in routine health care was regarded as valuable by the majority of the patients in the Health outcome assessment project. A new concept was introduced, respondent satisfaction, and the respondent satisfaction summary score was in most cases equal, i.e. SF-36 and EQ-5D were found to be quite similar regarding the cognitive response process (understanding and responding to the items in the EQ-5D and the SF-36) and patient-perceived content validity (if EQ-5D and SF-36 gave patients the ability to describe their health in a comprehensive way) (Paper IV).

Conclusions The four papers investigated different aspects of HRQoL that are important for the implementation of the use of measures of HRQoL within the health care system. In conclusion, 1) the use of measures of HRQoL to identify patients with low HRQoL for further health promoting interventions might be supported on a psychological (psychological resources are related to better HRQoL) and biological basis (low HRQoL being an important sign of increased biological vulnerability), 2) a comorbidity index specifically aimed to adjust for comorbidity in patient HRQoL outcomes studies was found to be valid in a normal population (that might serve as a reference population in future studies), and 3) patients perceived the use of measures of HRQoL to be valuable and feasible in routine health care, and questionnaire length and ease of response were not found to be crucial arguments in the choice between SF-36 and EQ-5D. Hence, in their own way, they all and together, contribute to removing obstacles in the implementation process of using patient-reported outcome measures in the health care system for quality improvement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 80 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1295
National Category
Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74758 (URN)978-91-7519-958-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-03-16, K2, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Linköpings universitet, Norrköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2012-02-07 Created: 2012-02-07 Last updated: 2012-03-23Bibliographically approved

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