This paper discusses two types of response-scale heterogeneity, which may impact upon the EQ-5D. Response-scale heterogeneity in reporting occurs when individuals systematically differ in their use of response scales when responding to self-assessments. This type of heterogeneity is widely observed in relation to other self-assessed measures but is often overlooked with regard to the EQ-5D. Analogous to this, preference elicitation involving the EQ-5D could be subject to a similar type of heterogeneity, where variations across respondents may occur in the interpretations of the levels (response categories) being valued. This response-scale heterogeneity in preference elicitation may differ from variations in preferences for health states, which have been observed in the literature. This paper explores what these forms of response-scale heterogeneity may mean for the EQ-5D and the potential implications for researchers who rely on the instrument as a measure of health and quality of life. We identify situations where they are likely to be problematic and present potential avenues for overcoming these issues.
- anchoring vignettes
- differential item functioning
- multi-attribute utility instruments
- preference heterogeneity
- reporting heterogeneity
- response-scale heterogeneity