Developing a Screening Instrument

Defining a Concept and Choosing an Indicator
  • Mavis Maclean
  • Hazel Genn
Part of the Oxford Socio-Legal Studies book series


Having rejected alternative sources of data for our survey of compensation and support and accepted that empirical work must be undertaken, we began to confront the problems of definition. What precisely were the misfortunes we were to screen for? The project set out to examine the social and economic consequences of illness and injury, i.e. we had an area of interest, not a quantifiable variable. The reason for our interest in the topic added to our difficulties. We were concerned that the law of tort in relation to compensation for personal injury was covering only a subsection of the population which might be suffering the effects of illness and injury. We were working outwards from an over-strictly defined subgroup towards an unknown quantity — the total ‘victim’ population. However, in one sense the entire general population are victims of the social and economic consequences of illness and injury in that no one enjoys perfect health all of the time. What sort of cut-off point on the continuum of illness and injury were we to adopt? To develop a definition of a population whose very nature we wished to investigate led us into long, irreconcilable discussions about the nature of the distinction between our group of victims and the total population. Were we to be concerned with a group who differ from the norm of health and illness either in relation to their peer group (which would involve accepting, for example, limited mobility as ‘normal’ for the over-70s) or in relation to the ideal type, i.e. a young fit adult?


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Berdit, M. and Williamson, J. W., ‘Functional Limitations Scale for Measuring Health Outcomes’, in B. Berg (ed), Health Status Indexes ( Chigago: Hospital Research and Educational Trust, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  2. Brown, G. W. and Harris, T., Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women ( London: Tavistock, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  3. Burman, S. B., Genn, H. G. and Lyons, J., ‘Pilot Study of the Use of Legal Services by Victims of Accidents in the Home’, Modern Law Review, vol. 40 (1977) pp. 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carroll, D., ‘A Quantitative Test of Upper Extremity Function’, Journal of Chronic Diseases, vol. 18 (1965) p. 479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cronbach, L. J., Essentials of Psychological Testing, 3rd ed. ( New York: Harper & Row, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  6. Cullinan, T., Visually Handicapped of Canterbury (Canterbury: Health Services Research Unit, University of Kent, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  7. Garrad, J. and Bennett, A. E., ‘A Validated Interview Schedule for Use in Population Surveys of Chronic Disease and Disability’, British Journal of Preventive and Social Medicine, vol. 25 (1971) pp. 97 - 104.Google Scholar
  8. Goldberg, D., The Detection of Psychiatric Illness by Questionnaire, Maudsley Monograph ( London: Oxford Unversity Press, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  9. Harris, A. I., Handicapped and Impaired in Great Britain (London: HMSO, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  10. Jefferys, M., Millard, J. B., Hyman, M. and Warren, M. D., ‘A Set of Tests for Measuring Motor Impairment’, Journal of Chronic Diseases, vol. 22 (1969) pp. 303–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Katz, S. et al., ‘A New Classification of Functional Status in Activities of Daily Living’, Journal of Chronic Diseases, vol. 9 (1959) pp. 55–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kleck, R., ‘Physical Stigma and Non-verbal Cues Emitted in Face to Face Interactions’, Human Relations, vol. 21 (1968) pp. 19–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Linn, L. S., ‘Verbal Attitudes and Overt Behaviour’, Social Forces, vol. 44 (1965) pp. 353–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Manis, J. G., Brawer, M. J., Hunt, C. L. and Kercher, L. C., ‘Validating a Mental Health Scale’, American Sociological Review, vol. 28 (1963) pp. 108–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mooney, W. A., Methodology in the California Health Surveys, San Jose 1952 and Statewide 1954-5, Public Health Monograph no. 70, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1962 ).Google Scholar
  16. Moser, C. and Kalton, G., Survey Methods in Social Investigation ( London: Heinemann, 1971 ).Google Scholar
  17. Nagi, S. Z., ‘Congruency in Medical and Self Assessment of Disability’, Industrial Medicine and Surgery, vol. 38, no. 3. (March 1969) pp. 27–36.Google Scholar
  18. Oakley, A., Housewife (London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  19. Oppenheim, A. N., Questionnaire Design and Attitude Measurement ( London: Heinemann, 1966 ).Google Scholar
  20. Pilling, D., The Handicapped Child: Research Review, vol. III ( London: Longman, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  21. Pinker, R. A. and Maclean, M., Dependency and Welfare ( London: Social Science Research Council, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  22. Sainsbury, S., Measuring Disability, Occasional Papers on Social Administration, no. 54 ( London: Bell, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  23. Simkins, J. (ed), Whose Benefit? (London:Economic Intelligence Unit, 1978).Google Scholar
  24. Slack, K. M., Social Administration and the Citizen ( London: Michael Joseph, 1966 ).Google Scholar
  25. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW), Factors Related to Response in a Health Examination Survey, series 2, no. 36 ( Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  26. DHEW, Optimum Recall Period for Reportive Persons Injured in Motor Vehicle Ac- cidents, series 2, no. 50 ( Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  27. DHEW, US Health Examination Survey, series 2, no. 11 ( Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1968 ).Google Scholar
  28. Wiggins, J. S., Personality and Prediction: Principles of Personality Assessment ( London: Addison-Wesley, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  29. Wood, P., Classification of Impairments and Handicaps ( Manchester: Epidemiology Research Unit, 1975 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Social Science Research Council 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mavis Maclean
  • Hazel Genn

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations