The SMU Health Questionnaire (SMUHQ)

Author of Tool: 

Watson, D and Pennebaker, J. W.

Key references: 

Watson, D. (1988). Intraindividual and interindividual analyses of Positive and Negative Affect: Their relation to health complaints, perceived stress, and daily activities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1020-1030.
Watson, D., & Pennebaker, J.W. (1989). Health complaints, stress, and distress: Exploring the central role of Negative Affectivity. Psychological Review, 96, 234-254.

Primary use / Purpose: 

Measures a broad range of health problems.

Background: 

The SMU Health Questionnaire (SMU-HQ) to assess a broader range of health problems than are covered in the PILL. Its 63 items include symptoms  and complaints (e.g., abdominal or stomach pain, sore throat), minor illnesses (e.g., cold or flu, appendicitis), and more serious and chronic  health problems (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, cancer). Subjects check any problem they have experienced during the past year.  In order to distinguish between symptom and major health items, we subjected the SMU-HQ items to a principal factor analysis (squared multiple correlations in the diagonal) in a sample of 437 SMU under- graduates. This analysis revealed a broad first factor that accounted for 23.2% of the common variance. We constructed a Symptom scale that consists of 13 of the 14 items having the strongest loadings on this factor. The remaining item, depression, was excluded because of its obvious conceptual overlap with NA and PA. The final scale consists entirely of various symptoms and complaints (e.g., headaches, cramps, diarrhea). This Symptom scale will be used in all subsequent analyses. The score reflects the number of items checked.

Psychometrics: 

For psychometrics, see Watson, D., & Pennebaker, J.W. (1989). Health complaints, stress, and distress: Exploring the central role of Negative Affectivity. Psychological Review, 96, 234-254.

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