Background: Researchers are finding limitations of currently available disease-focused questionnaire tools for outcome studies in complementary and alternative medicine/integrative medicine (CAM/IM).
Methods: Three substudies investigated the new one-item visual analogue Arizona Integrative Outcomes Scale (AIOS), which assesses self-rated global sense of spiritual, social, mental, emotional, and physical well-being over the past 24 hours and the past month. The first study tested the scale's ability to discriminate unhealthy individuals (n = 50) from healthy individuals (n = 50) in a rehabilitation outpatient clinic sample. The second study examined the concurrent validity of the AIOS by comparing ratings of global well-being to degree of psychological distress as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) in undergraduate college students (N = 458). The third study evaluated the relationships between the AIOS and positively- and negatively-valenced tools (Positive and Negative Affect Scale and the Positive States of Mind Scale) in a different sample of undergraduate students (N = 62).
Results: Substudy (i) Rehabilitation patients scored significantly lower than the healthy controls on both forms of the AIOS and a current global health rating. The AIOS 24-hours correlated moderately and significantly with global health (patients r = 0.50; controls r = 0.45). AIOS 1-month correlations with global health were stronger within the controls (patients r = 0.36; controls r = 0.50). Controls (r = 0.64) had a higher correlation between the AIOS 24-hour and 1-month forms than did the patients (r = 0.33), which is consistent with the presumptive improvement in the patients' condition over the previous 30 days in rehabilitation. Substudy (ii) In undergraduate students, AIOS scores were inversely related to distress ratings, as measured by the global severity index on the BSI (rAIOS24h = -0.42, rAIOS1month = -0.40). Substudy (iii) AIOS scores were significantly correlated with positive affect (rAIOS24h = 0.56, rAIOS1month = 0.57) and positive states of mind (rAIOS24h = 0.42, rAIOS1month = 0.45), and inversely correlated with negative affect (rAIOS24h = -0.41, rAIOS1month = -0.59).
Conclusions: The AIOS is able to distinguish relatively sicker from relatively healthier individuals; and correlates in expected directions with a measure of distress and indicators of positive and negative affect and positive states of mind. The AIOS offers a tool for CAM/IM research that extends beyond a disease emphasis.