Generic and disease-specific measures in assessing health status and quality of life

Donald L. Patrick, Richard A. Deyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1158 Scopus citations


Application of generic and specific measures of health status and quality of life to different diseases, conditions, states, and populations is increasing. Four strategies for using these measures are separate generic and specific measures, modified generic measures, disease-specific supplements, and batteries. The preferred strategy depends on project aims, methodological concerns, and practical constraints. Generic measures are necessary to compare outcomes across different populations and interventions, particularly for cost-effectiveness studies. Disease-specific measures assess the special states and concerns of diagnostic groups. Specific measures may be more sensitive for the detection and quantification of small changes that are important to clinicians or patients. Comparison studies are needed of the validity, reliability, and responsiveness of generic and disease-specific measures in the same population and in minority and age-specific groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S217-S232
JournalMedical care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthritis
  • Disability evaluation
  • Health status
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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