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30-10-2021 Open Access

Time trade-off with someone to live for: impact of having significant others on time trade-off valuations of hypothetical health states

Quality of Life Research
Tonya Moen Hansen, Knut Stavem, Kim Rand
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-021-03026-6.

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The TTO task involves giving up life years, i.e. living a shorter life, to avoid an undesirable health state. Despite being a hypothetical task, some respondents take other life factors into account when completing the task. This study explored the effect of having children and/or a partner on TTO valuations of hypothetical EQ-5D-5L health states in a valuation study of the general population.


The study used TTO data collected in a Norwegian EQ-5D-5L valuation study in 2019–2020, by one-to-one pc-assisted interviews following the EQ-VT protocol. We used regression modelling to determine the effect of significant others (having children or a partner) on disutility per health state from the TTO valuations.


430 respondents were included [mean age 43.8 (SD 15.9) years, 58% female, 48% with children, 68% with a partner, 25% with neither children nor partner]. Having children and/or a partner was associated with lowered willingness to trade life years translating to higher elicited health state utilities (p < 0.01).


Having significant others, or the lack of having significant others, was associated with respondents’ valuation of hypothetical health states using TTO, more so than traditional sampling variables such as age and sex. Inadequate representativeness in terms of having significant others could bias health state preference values in valuation studies.

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