Background: Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) has received much attention in recent years. HRQOL indicators have been used to track population trends, identify health disparities, and monitor progress in achieving national health objectives for 2010. Prior studies have examined health risks and HRQOL at the national level as well as at the state level. This paper examines multiple indicators of HRQOL by demographic characteristics and selected health behaviors for Rhode Island adults.
Methods: Data from Rhode Island's 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a random digit dialled telephone survey, were used for this study. The state wide sample contained a total of 3,843 respondents ages 18 and older. Multiple Imputation (MI) was applied to handle missing data, and data were modelled for each of 10 HRQOL indicators using multivariable logistic regression.
Results: By examining HRQOL through a multivariable approach we identified the strongest predictors for multiple indicators of poor HRQOL as well as predictors for specific indicators of poor HRQOL. Predictors for multiple indicators of poor HRQOL were: disability, inability to work, unemployment, lower income, lack of exercise, asthma, and smoking (specifically associated with poor mental health).
Conclusion: Using multiple measures of HRQOL can help to assess the burden of poor health in a population, identify subgroups with unmet HRQOL needs, inform the development of targeted interventions, and monitor changes in a population's HRQOL over time. Use of these HRQOL measures in longitudinal and intervention studies is needed to increase our understanding of the causal relationships between demographics, health risk behaviors, and HRQOL.