Today I will introduce you to a resource to measure health as more than the absence of disease. With 10 minutes for this presentation I have chosen to make you acquainted with the resource rather than to go deeply into WHY and HOW it was made. I will only say it was made through systematic literature searches by a the following group of researchers from the University of Bergen: Maurice Mittelmark, Torill Bull (that’s me), Tove Rullestad, Annette Servan, Ingvild Kvisselien, and Marguerite Daniel. Maurice Mittelmark was the project leader, I was the project coordinator. The outcome of the project is a database of close to 500 English-language, peer-reviewed articles presenting or discussing indicators of health as more than the absence of disease.
On the database website, you can read a report on the methodology of the project. You also find a link to a video clip of this presentation. In brief, this is what we did: Under leadership of our university health promotion librarian, two master students did a scoping study, which means they mapped the breadth of literature in the field of measurement of a positive aspect of health.
All the articles in the database, close to 500, are English language peer reviewed articles on indicators of health, including at least ONE item measuring health in a positive sense, as MORE than the absence of disease. When we identified a positive indicator, we aimed to include both the original paper introducing the indicator, and the most-cited paper referring to it.
Before I show you the database, there is one more important issue to mention, How do we best define health? We need to know, don’t we, to be able to select indicators of health? Our answer is: there is no consensus. Much as we would have loved to deliver an impressive contribution on the definition of health, we acknowledged our limited resources and took a pragmatic approach, prioritizing making this a tool that could bring something of practical value to health promotion researchers holding different opinions on this matter. So, we have not taken a stance here on the best way of defining or classifying health, we have accommodated for several views. We have written a bit more about this on the website. And now, I will use the remainder of the time to show you the database.
You access the database from the homepage of our institute. The web address is given on the cards that have been handed around today, and you will also find it on a later slide. Click on RESOURCES, and next POSITIVE HEALTH INDICATORS. That brings you to the homepage of the database
here. From this opening page you have several options. You can learn more about the project and the database, from these links. Each of them opens a page with answers to questions we imagine you will have. For instance here, HOW DO I USE THE DATABASE? That link will show you how to search, whether or not you can add new material to the database (which you can), and how the articles are organized . The next link, WHAT DO I FIND IN THE DATABASE, answers the questions What is the content of the database? Do I get access to the full versions of the positive health indicators? (the answer is to some degree) Do I get access to the full versions of the articles in the database? (again, the answer is to some degree ) By which criteria were articles added? Does the database contain all positive indicators that exist? , and Are all indicators in the database purely positive ? The link ON THE CONCEPT OF HEALTH asks How do you define health? What is positive health – isn’t health always positive? What is a positive health indicator? How many dimensions of health are there? I will return to the answers to a few of these questions later in the presentation, but I hope the questions have tempted you to visit the database and explore for yourself.
Now to the next important feature on this page – ACCESS TO THE DATABASE .
This database is made with a wonderful open access tool called ZOTERO. What you see here is the first interface you meet when you access the database..
It is organized with a field showing the articles, here,
a search field on the top right, here,
a list of folders with a main folder and subfolders on the left, here, and below the folders,
a large cloud of TAGS, here. You can access the articles by any of those options.
One important thing is to know that the searches are limited to the folder you have selected on the left. If you are interested in humour as a health factor in occupational health you select that folder, occupational health,
and type humour in the search field at the top right of the page. The search is then limited to humour in occupational health.
However, if you select the top folder called LIBRARY you will search in all the subfolders.
Another way of identifying papers on measurement of humour would be just to click the FOLDER called humour, or search for HUMOUR in the TAGs. You will find a variety of options, for instance for those interested in Chinese humour! Or coping humour.
About the tags: The database searches for THE COMBINATION of tags you have selected. The tags you have selected are shown in yellow at the top, to help you keep track and deselect whenever needed. Here, for instance, the combination of flourishing AND positive affect limits the search.
I will now search for papers on WELLNESS and take you one step further in the process. Searching for wellness, I get five different papers
I select one of them by clicking it, and this is what happens:
A window opens with information about this paper, including the abstract.
This picture shows you more of that information field. You notice the links, the tags, and the link to the attachment. As long as the computer you are searching from has legal access to the relevant journal, the web link will open the full text of the paper. However, as always, the links do not always work – links have a tendency to die! However, that is not a great problem. The solution is to use the information provided in this field to do a search in for instance Google Scholar,
and you get a fresh link to the paper, as you see in this picture. Here I searched for wellness in combination with the author names, and it takes me to the paper. The main aim of this database is to crack the literature for you in this way, to point you to relevant indicators – and of course, if possible, to put them directly in your hands. The last thing I will do is open the paper we have now found. This is one of the papers showing the full version of the indicator it mentions
And here is the scale. I will particularly ask you to study the items in the two oblongs, and the items in the middle. Notice how the middle section measures absence of disease and problems, while the two other sections measure presence of a positive kind. Now, this is one of the articles giving access to the full indicator. In other cases where the author does not share the full indicator, we advise you to get in touch with the authors by email (normally possible to trace through the paper) to ask how the full scale can be accessed.
This database can help you find indicators for the most incredible needs – for instance The getting out of bed scale The military social health index A life satisfaction questionnaire for Chinese women with schizophrenia Or on contentment in Arab Muslim countries.
I hope this has been enough to raise your curiosity so that you explore the resources in this online tool on your own. And – if you are interested in being a partner in adding material to the database just contact me – you find my email on the project website.
Torill bull NHPRC 2013.3
Positive Health Indicators
Maurice Mittelmark, Torill Bull, Tove Rullestad, Annette Servan,
Ingvild Kvissellien, Marguerite Daniel
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT
• English language
• Peer reviewed
• On indicators of health
• At least one item measuring health in a positive sense
• Original paper
• Most-cited paper