The effect of past and present illness experience on the valuations of health states

Med Care. 1995 Apr;33(4 Suppl):AS255-63.


The effects of age, sex, income, and other socioeconomic factors on valuations for health states have been reported in the literature. However, little attention has been paid to the influence of illness experience, either current or past, on valuations for of states. This paper addresses that question using six separate data sets covering some 1,900 subjects. Each data set contains information on self-reported current health status and experience of serious illness in self, family, and others. Past experience of illness has not been found to affect valuations, but there is some evidence to suggest that, compared with those who claim to be in full health, those who describe their current health as dysfunctional give higher valuations (i.e., closer to good health) for all health states, and particularly so for the more severe states. The most striking result, however, concerns the relationship between respondents' valuations of their own health and their subsequent valuations of hypothetical health states. In all studies, it has been observed that a low self-rated health status is associated with significantly lower valuations of less severe states, including full health. The findings of this paper suggest a real dilemma for health services researchers and policy makers. The importance of the choice of valuations used in the evaluation of health care now must be recognized, because different results may be obtained according to the current health status of those respondents from whom valuations are.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*