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01-08-2010 | Uitgave 6/2010

Quality of Life Research 6/2010

Discriminative capacity of the EQ-5D, SF-6D, and SF-12 as measures of health status in population health survey

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 6/2010
Oriol Cunillera, Ricard Tresserras, Luis Rajmil, Gemma Vilagut, Pilar Brugulat, Mike Herdman, Anna Mompart, Antonia Medina, Yolanda Pardo, Jordi Alonso, John Brazier, Montse Ferrer



To compare the EQ-5D, SF-6D, and SF-12 in terms of their capacity to discriminate between groups defined by relevant socio-demographic and health characteristics in a general population survey.


Data were obtained from the 2006 Catalan Health Interview Survey, a representative sample (n = 4,319) of the general population of Catalonia (Spain). Effect sizes (ES) and Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves were calculated to evaluate the instruments’ capacity to distinguish between groups based on socio-demographic variables, recent health problems, perceived health, psychological distress, and selected chronic conditions.


All instruments showed a similar discriminative capacity between groups based on socio-demographic variables, recent medical visit (ES = 0.47–0.55), activity limitations (ES = 0.92–0.98), perceived health (ES = 0.97–1.33), and psychological well-being (ES = 1.17–1.57). Effect sizes between respondents with and without any of fourteen selected chronic conditions were large (0.76–1.04) for 4, moderate (0.55–0.74) for 8, and small (0.17–0.39) for two on the EQ-5D index. A similar pattern was observed for the SF-12 but ES were predominantly moderate (7 conditions) or small (6 conditions) on the SF-6D.


The EQ-5D and SF-12 were largely comparable in estimating the health burden of chronic conditions, recent health problems, and social inequalities. The SF-6D was less sensitive than the EQ-5D index and SF-12, particularly for physical chronic conditions.

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