Maastricht, The Netherlands – For values of health-related quality of life to be useful in policy, it is crucial that these are measured accurately. Instruments to obtain patient valuations of their own health-related quality of life (HRQOL) usually rely on retrospective self-report. However, due to imperfect recollection of past experiences, these self-reports only partially capture the impact of health problems on the daily lives of people who are affected.
In the study “Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life by Experiences: The Experience Sampling Method,” a group of researchers from Maastricht University and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health of the University of Exeter explored the feasibility of measuring HRQOL from moment to moment, in the context of daily life by using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM). They also examined the relationships between momentary feelings and symptoms and valuation of HRQOL and retrospective valuation of HRQOL.
The main results of the study showed that the use of the ESM to measure accounts of the momentary experience of health in different populations is feasible. Furthermore, momentary feelings and symptoms were significant predictors of momentary HRQOL, but not of retrospective HRQOL.
The authors point out that, “This study highlights that retrospective measures may provide a biased account of the impact of health problems in the daily lives of people who are affected. Therefore ESM may provide a valuable addition to the measurement of HRQOL.”