Aim To validate a single question of self-reported quality of life as a reliable instrument in population studies.
Method Cross sectional validation of a single question about QoL against the quality of life SF-36 (Short-Form 36 Health Survey). The study was performed in a national representative sample of 4762 community-dwelling people 61–101 y (38.8% men) from a national study on dependency done in Chile in 2009–2010. All subjects completed household interviews (face to face), including the question “How is your quality of life?” (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor and Very Poor). To validate it we used the summary measures mental and physical health of the SF-36, estimated with Chilean-Specific scoring algorithms previously validated. The relation of summarised score to each category was studied using Kruskal–Wallis test and the non-parametric test for trend across ordered groups.
Results The mean score (using survey design) of the mental and physical components follow a gradient from Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor to Very Poor being the higher score excellent and the lower very poor. Mental component mean scores: 56.7, 54.4, 49.0, 39.1, 37.6; physical component mean scores: 54.1, 51.4, 46.5, 41.1, 38.1 (p<0.0001) Similar results were obtained in both sexes.
Conclusion The single question about QoL is a reliable measure, easy to interpret and barely time consuming. For this reason appears as an excellent instrument to be used in large population studies.
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