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U.S. General Population Estimate for “Excellent” to “Poor” Self-Rated Health Item



The most commonly used self-reported health question asks people to rate their general health from excellent to poor. This is one of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) global health items. Four other items are used for scoring on the PROMIS global physical health scale. Because the single item is used on the majority of large national health surveys in the U.S., it is useful to construct scores that can be compared to U.S. general population norms.


To estimate the PROMIS global physical health scale score from the responses to the single excellent to poor self-rated health question for use in public health surveillance, research, and clinical assessment.


A cross-sectional survey of 21,133 individuals, weighted to be representative of the U.S. general population.


The PROMIS items were administered via a Web-based survey to 19,601 persons in a national panel and 1,532 subjects from PROMIS research sites. The average age of individuals in the sample was 53 years, 52 % were female, 80 % were non-Hispanic white, and 19 % had a high school degree or lower level of education.

Main outcome measures

PROMIS global physical health scale.

Key results

The product-moment correlation of the single item with the PROMIS global physical health scale score was 0.81. The estimated scale score based on responses to the single item ranged from 29 (poor self-rated health, 2.1 SDs worse than the general population mean) to 62 (excellent self-rated health, 1.2 SDs better than the general population mean) on a T-score metric (mean of 50).


This item can be used to estimate scores for the PROMIS global physical health scale for use in monitoring population health and achieving public health objectives. The item may also be used for individual assessment, but its reliability (0.52) is lower than that of the PROMIS global health scale (0.81).

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