This paper examines problems in measuring the occurrence of acute symptoms of ill health.
Health interview surveys and health diaries often lead to different results.
Two key hypotheses assume that : 1, interviews using checklists are more sensitive to the respondent's psychological distress than are the open-ended questions of health diaries ; and 2, health diaries demand high levels of compliance leading to underreporting of symptoms.
An additional 3rd hypothesis assumes that the effect of psychological distress on response patterns is strong for reporting psychological symptoms but insignificant for musculoskeletal symptoms.
The hypotheses were tested and explored with data from the Dutch Survey of General Practice, a nationwide study among 161 GPs.
A random sample of 100 patients per GP was approached for a health interview and asked to keep a structured health diary during three weeks.
There was no significant effect of taking an interest in health matters, gender, and work and domestic role obligations.
Taking the nature of symptoms into account, it was found that psychological distress had indeed a great effect on the response pattern for psychological symptoms, but not for musculoskeletal symptoms.
The criticism that symptom checklists are sensitive to psychological distress rather than to physical illness alone, confirmed in this study.
Open-ended questions prevent biased responses, but result in fewer symp.
Mots-clés Pascal : Etat sanitaire, Morbidité, Epidémiologie, Homme, Enquête, Méthode étude, Etude comparative, Pays Bas, Europe
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Health status, Morbidity, Epidemiology, Human, Inquiry, Investigation method, Comparative study, Netherlands, Europe
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 95-0447841
Code Inist : 002B30A01A1. Création : 01/03/1996.