The validity and relative precision of MOS short- and long-form health status scales and Dartmouth COOP charts. Results from the Medical Outcomes Study

Med Care. 1992 May;30(5 Suppl):MS253-65. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199205001-00025.


This study estimated the validity and relative precision (RP) of four methods (MOS long- and short-form scales, global items, and COOP Poster Charts) in measuring six general health concepts. The authors also tested whether and how precisely each method discriminated relatively well adult patients (N = 638) from those with only severe chronic medical (N = 168) and only psychiatric conditions (N = 163), as clinically defined. For comparisons between the well group and both medical and psychiatric groups, RP estimates favored long-form over short-form, multi-item scales, and favored multi-item scales over single-item global measures and poster charts. In relation to long forms, short-form multi-item scales achieved a median RP of .93; RP estimates for global items and poster charts were .81 and .67, respectively. Variations in RP across methods and concepts were linked to differences in the coarseness of measurement scales, reliability, and content (including the effects of chart illustrations). These variations in RP have implications for the interpretation of scores, the statistical power of comparisons between clinical groups, and the size of confidence intervals around individual patient scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / classification
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*