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Respondent-generated quality of life measures: useful tools for nursing or more fool’s gold?

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Respondent-generated quality of life measures: useful tools for nursing or more fool’s gold?

Within health services research the quest for better ways of measuring quality of life as an outcome variable continues apace. Recent developments in this area have seen increasing attempts to incorporate individually generated content and values into quality of life measures while retaining valid psychometric measurement properties. Following a brief overview of current conceptual approaches to quality of life measurement, this paper reviews the development of two leading Respondent-generated instruments: the Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQoL) and the Patient Generated Index (PGI). The relative strengths and weaknesses of these tools and their potential applications for nursing and nursing research are appraised. These measures both address and manifest a number of fundamental conceptual and methodological problems, and represent an innovative attempt to square the quantitative–qualitative circle. As such they offer challenging opportunities for nursing at a number of levels. Their elicitation and quantification of individual components of quality of life offer opportunities for nurses to plan care and goal set with patients. As yet, however, the validity, reliability, responsiveness and practicality of these instruments as outcome measures are debatable and require further testing. Nurse researchers could contribute to this process by using Respondent-generated measures as an adjunct to existing, established tools in outcome studies. Moreover, nursing is well placed to investigate and debate the validity of the conceptual assumptions underpinning these new instruments.
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Keywords: Patient Generated Index; Respondent-generated measures; SEIQoL; care planning; health care outcomes; nursing research; psychometrics; quality of life

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Fellow, Centre for Nurse Practice Research and Development, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland

Publication date: 2000-08-01

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