The self-administered comorbidity questionnaire: A new method to assess comorbidity for clinical and health services research




To develop the Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire (SCQ) and assess its psychometric properties, including the predictive validity of the instrument, as reflected by its association with health status and health care utilization after 1 year.


A cross-sectional comparison of the SCQ with a standard, chart abstraction-based measure (Charlson Index) was conducted on 170 inpatients from medical and surgical care units. The association of the SCQ with the chart-based comorbidity instrument and health status (short form 36) was evaluated cross sectionally. The association between these measures and health status and resource utilization was assessed after 1 year.


The Spearman correlation coefficient for the association between the SCQ and the Charlson Index was 0.32. After restricting each measure to include only comparable items, the correlation between measures was stronger (Spearman r = 0.55). The SCQ had modest associations with measures of resource utilization during the index admission, and with health status and resource utilization after 1 year.


The SCQ has modest correlations with a widely used medical record-based comorbidity instrument, and with subsequent health status and utilization. This new measure represents an efficient method to assess comorbid conditions in clinical and health services research. It will be particularly useful in settings where medical records are unavailable.