Quantification of health by scaling similarity judgments
SourcePLoS One, 9, 2, (2014), article e89091
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
OBJECTIVE: A new methodology is introduced to scale health states on an interval scale based on similarity responses. It could be well suited for valuation of health states on specific regions of the health continuum that are problematic when applying conventional valuation techniques. These regions are the top-end, bottom-end, and states around 'dead'. METHODS: Three samples of approximately 500 respondents were recruited via an online survey. Each sample received a different judgmental task in which similarity data were elicited for the top seven health states in the dementia quality of life instrument (DQI). These states were '111111' (no problems on any domain) and six others with some problems (level 2) on one domain. The tasks presented two (dyads), three (triads), or four (quads) DQI health states. Similarity data were transformed into interval-level scales with metric and non-metric multidimensional scaling algorithms. The three response tasks were assessed for their feasibility and comprehension. RESULTS: In total 532, 469, and 509 respondents participated in the dyads, triads, and quads tasks respectively. After the scaling procedure, in all three response tasks, the best health state '111111' was positioned at one end of the health-state continuum and state '111211' was positioned at the other. The correlation between the metric scales ranged from 0.73 to 0.95, while the non-metric scales ranged from 0.76 to 1.00, indicating strong to near perfect associations. There were no apparent differences in the reported difficulty of the response tasks, but the triads had the highest number of drop-outs. DISCUSSION: Multidimensional scaling proved to be a feasible method to scale health-state similarity data. The dyads and especially the quads response tasks warrant further investigation, as these tasks provided the best indications of respondent comprehension.
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