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J Psychosom Res. 1984;28(2):105-14.

Subjective health assessments and the perceived outcome of minor surgery.


A simple and standardised measure of perceived health status, the Nottingham Health Profile, was used to assess the effect on perceived health status of surgical intervention in a variety of non-acute medical disorders. Patients were assessed a few days before their operation and again two months later and were compared with a control group who had not undergone surgery. Results showed very little change in subjective health from before to after surgical intervention. The experimental group had similar perceived health scores to the control group on the pre- and post-tests. It is suggested that the period allowed to elapse after surgical intervention was too short, or that the level of problems experienced by patients prior to surgery was too low to show significant change. It is also possible that the particular presenting disorders were only one possible somatic representation of general feelings of minor ill-health in the group. The findings of this study point to the need to look at the differences between doctors and patients expectations of the outcome of surgery, the decision to seek care and the factors that govern wellbeing.

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