Disease-Specific Versus Generic Measurement of Health-Related Quality of Life in Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Studies: an Inpatient Investigation of the SF-36 and Four Disease-Specific Instruments

  • Serge Briançon
  • Bernadette Gergonne
  • Francis Guillemin
  • Fabienne Empereur
  • Sylvie Klein


We studied the specificity and sensitivity to change of disease-specific questionnaires by assessing their relationship with generic questionnaires. The SF-36 and a disease-specific questionnaire were administered to 843 hospitalised patients on the day of admission and 15 days after discharge. The disease-specific questionnaire selected depended on the speciality of admission. The dimensions common to all questionnaires were studied. These were the physical, mental and social dimensions. Relationships were evaluated and compared for two groups of patients: those presenting with a disease for which the specific questionnaire was well matched, and those presenting with a disease for which it was not well matched. We hypothesised that correlations between generic and specific questionnaires would be lower when the disease-specific questionnaire was well matched. We found no significant differences in correlations at baseline; however, when considering changes in scores from baseline to follow-up, patients for whom the specific questionnaire was well matched had significantly lower correlations for the physical and mental dimensions. These results indicate that disease-specific questionnaires are not appropriate for use in cross-sectional studies, but are more sensitive to change than generic questionnaires and therefore more applicable to longitudinal investigations.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Mental Dimension Standardise Regression Coefficient Specific Questionnaire Standardise Response Mean 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Serge Briançon
    • 1
  • Bernadette Gergonne
    • 1
  • Francis Guillemin
    • 1
  • Fabienne Empereur
    • 1
  • Sylvie Klein
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NancyFrance

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