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Toward an Operational Definition of Health

Donald L. Patrick, J. W. Bush and Milton M. Chen
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Mar., 1973), pp. 6-23
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136932
Page Count: 18
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Toward an Operational Definition of Health
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Abstract

The social construct of health is composed of two dimensions, function level and prognosis. Differences among levels of function are primarily value judgments about conformity to social norms of well-being and role performance. Twenty-nine operationally-defined levels span a universe of possible case descriptions of function status. Sixty-two nurses and graduate students, using the method of equal-appearing intervals, assigned values to randomly parallel samples of the descriptions on a continuum from 0 representing death to 1 representing maximum well-being. Despite truncation at the scale extremes, differences were demonstrated among the function levels and between the nurses and students.

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