Measurement of Health-Related QOL in Diabetes Mellitus
Cathleen M. Connell
A number of health-related QOL (HR-QOL) measures specifically designed for people with diabetes mellitus have appeared in the literature. This article provides a selective review of 12 measures that address this important construct. For each included study, a description of the measure and its development phase is provided, followed by discussion of sampling, reliability, validity and appropriateness for selected populations. Measures designed to investigate broad and specific conceptualisations of diabetes-specific QOL are included. For research in which a broad conceptualisation of diabetes-specific QOL is appropriate, the following measures are recommended: Diabetes-39, Diabetes Care Profile (DCP), Diabetes Impact Management Scales (DIMS), Diabetes Quality of Life (DQOL) and the Diabetes-Specific Quality of Life Scale (DSQOLS). For investigation of one or more specific aspects of diabetes-specific QOL, other measures may also be appropriate: single-scale questionnaires such as the Appraisal of Diabetes Scale (ADS) [stressful impact], Audit of Diabetes-Dependent Quality of Life (ADDQoL) [life without diabetes] and the Problem Areas in Diabetes scale (PAID) [diabetes-related distress]; the Diabetes Health Profile (DHP) which focuses on diabetes-related distress, activity and eating behaviour; the Questionnaire on Stress in Patients with Diabetes-Revised (QSD-R) which has a primary focus on diabetes-related distress; and the Well-Being Enquiry for Diabetics (WED) which is primarily concerned with the perceptions of patients with diabetes in relation to mental health. Researchers selecting a diabetes-specific QOL measure should also carefully consider the conceptual underpinnings of the available instruments, as there is little uniformity in the definition and conceptualisation of HR-QOL. Based upon participants involved in questionnaire development and validation studies, those questionnaires that appear to be most appropriate for use with a variety of patient populations include the Diabetes-39, DIMS, Diabetes Quality of Life Clinical Trial Questionnaire - Revised (DQLCTQ-R), PAID and the QSD-R. The DCP and DHP appear to be especially relevant measures of HR-QOL for patients with type 2 diabetes, while the DQOL, DSQOLS and WED have clear emphases on concerns of individuals with type 1 diabetes. The length of the DQLCTQ-R may raise concerns about its use among some populations (e.g. older adults). Recommendations for future research include: (i) increasing the diversity of samples used to develop and evaluate existing and new measures in terms of race/ethnicity, age and gender; (ii) examination of the causal relationship between diabetes self-management and QOL using longitudinal designs; (iii) increasing emphasis on the positive aspects of successful chronic illness self-management; and (iv) use of HR-QOL measures to inform empowering relationships between physicians and patients.
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