Tag Archives: survey

disability sector survey disappointment

I’ve just tried out the survey promoted by Scope Victoria.

It’s a shame that despite a fair bit of interest expressed in the type of work I do generally (choice modelling) at a disability conference and my work specifically (in valuing social and health care and quality of life in both the UK and Australia), that the powers that be are sticking with old discredited methods.

In particular – there are a whole battery of category rating (visual analogue) scales where you have to give a number from 0 (or 1) to 10 expressing your level of agreement with, or current level experienced of, various aspects of life. I just have two questions:

(1) How are you going to deal with the numerous criticisms of these that Steenkamp and Baumgartner put forward over 10 years ago? Namely culture-specific effects and numerous other biases in how people use these scales (avoid end-points / only use end-points / etc etc)…

(2) How on earth do you hope to summarise how a respondent’s life is overall? You can’t just sum the scores, you have no idea how important they are to the individual since no properly validated task to measure the trade-offs (s)he would be prepared to make between them all was done?

This is simply going to provide a huge textbook of results that will allow service providers and politicians to cherry-pick what they want and concentrate on whatever scores seem to endorse their own views/provision. If you’re going to administer a long survey – and this is VERY long – then you should do a discrete choice experiment to find out what is important to a respondent and what their personal overall disability/quality of life score is.

Then we can track and compare and have a meaningful discussion about disabilitycare and who is being helped or not helped.

Happiness isn’t quality of life if you’re old

The subject of happiness, particularly among older people, has come up (again) in the media. I reckon they trot out the latest survey results whenever there’s a slow news day. I think it’s no coincidence the newest stories have appeared in the slow month of August.

Anyway I shall keep this short as I’ll rant otherwise. Once again, neither happiness nor life satisfaction is the same as quality of life and we can argue til the cows come home as to which of the three (if any) is truly well-being.

First of all, if I can find the time to write up a follow-up to the paper I published on the mid 2000s survey of Bristolians I will show this:

Five year age bands showing mean levels (after rescaling) of self-rated happiness versus scored quality of life in Bristol

Five year age bands showing mean levels (after rescaling) of self-rated happiness versus scored quality of life in Bristol

The two track reasonably closely until retirement age. Then whilst happiness continues to rise, quality of life certainly does not. The wealth of other evidence on health, money, friends, etc from the survey suggests our QoL, the ICECAP-O instrument, is the better measure of overall well-being.

We are not the only ones to find this. A large US study pretty much concluded they didn’t know WTF older people were doing when they answered life satisfaction/happiness questions but they sure don’t answer them the same way that younger adults do. Older people use a different part of the numerical scale (typically a higher portion, all other things being equal). That’s rating scale bias and there is a huge and growing literature on it.

Stop asking these dumb questions. There are good alternatives.



ICECAP-A UK scoring now available

For anyone wanting to use the ICECAP-A Capability instrument to measure and value well-being in the UK, we have the early view paper in Health Economics with scoring!


Terry N. Flynn, Elisabeth Huynh, Tim J. Peters, Hareth Al-Janabi, Sam Clemens, Alison Moody, Joanna Coast,

It is the first to produce both the population tariff and proper adjustment for scale (variance) heterogeneity in the same paper (rather than doing the latter as a secondary analysis). It also shows that Brits are not all alike, there are different “types” who value different attributes of life.

referenced in a blog

I was googling myself – as you do, and in this case to check that the youtube video with the two-naked-guys-plus-dildo thumbnail had been taken down/edited…it hadn’t – and found that my public lecture was blogged about back in 2010!

Thanks Lyrian! Hopefully I’ll get enough data from the recent survey to update the results.

PS neither of the guys in the video thumbnail is me and the video has nothing to do with me….honest! :-p

Your end-of-life care attitudes

Advanced care planning is important so your relatives, friends and doctors know what treatment you’d want if you’re unable to make your wishes known.

Yet most people don’t make out an advanced care plan (ACP).

We’re developing tools to help facilitate this and we have a tool to elicit your attitudes and, more importantly, feed them back to you in a way that may help you understand your overall views on care and how you compare to the general older population of Australians.

The survey is here – give it a go.

Your quality of life

Would you like to know you own personal quality of life score using the ICECAP-O instrument?

Would you like to know how you compare with other people your age? Gender? With others in your State or Territory (Australia)?

Try this totally anonymous survey – it’s in beta mode at the moment as we’re building up the numbers of responses to get better comparisons. However, it shows what we can do with ICECAP-O.