Variations in self-reported health status: results from a New Zealand survey

N Z Med J. 2000 Dec 8;113(1123):517-20.


Aims: To report measures of the self-reported health of a sample of the New Zealand adult population elicited using the EuroQol Group's EQ-5D questionnaire, and to investigate variations in these measures, according to respondents' socio-demographic characteristics.

Methods: Personal health status questions were included in a self-completed postal questionnaire mailed to a non-stratified sample of 3000 New Zealanders, selected at random from the electoral roll. 1350 questionnaires were completed and returned. Each respondent rated their health on the five EQ-5D dimensions- mobility, self care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression- and assigned a global score to their profile.

Results: Pain/discomfort was the most commonly experienced health problem, with 41% of all respondents and 63% of over-70 year olds reporting moderate or extreme problems. Just 4.5% of respondents reported problems with self-care. Respondents were more likely to report problems on each of the five dimensions and to have a lower global score if they smoked, if they were unemployed, a houseworker or retiree, and if their education did not continue past the minimum school leaving-age, or they did not have a degree or equivalent qualification. Problems on all dimensions were more common the older the respondent, and the global score was lower for over-70 year olds than for younger people. Neither the global score nor the incidence of problems on any of the dimensions was related to sex or ethnicity.

Conclusions: The EQ-5D is a potentially useful instrument for monitoring health in the New Zealand context. Further research to explore its validity and reliability, particularly for Maori, would be valuable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander / statistics & numerical data
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Postal Service
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*