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I am asking this question to assist with my work in the setting described below, and am working on the below mentioned spreadsheet as I write this. I thought this could be an interesting question to get others' thoughts about the benefits or pitfalls of an aggregate score.

Background: My colleagues and I are measuring three aspects of weekly well-being or functioning among our clients who are brain injury survivors. We are doing this as part of the weekly case note or SOAP note process. We chose three measures of weekly coping (non-scientifically and without reference to prior known work, measures, or conceptual frameworks--we just thought these would work for our purposes). We did this because we wanted to have a way to keep track of these clients' general mental well-being during Covid-19 Zoom classes (vs. prior in-person classes when we did not collect this data and when they were presumably under less stress). The 3 aspects we are rating each week are: Mood, Coping, and Engagement. Our observed scores on these are being recorded weekly in an excel spreadsheet. 1 = poor/low, 2=fair/moderate, 3=good/high, 4=excellent/very high.

Question: What are the benefits or pitfalls of having an aggregate score, such as an average (or sum)?

I am looking for clinical opinions/thoughts on this and/or input from those with more measurement experience.

At first blush, I am thinking that the amount of variance or overlap between mood, coping, and engagement, plus the fact that people may score high on one but low on another, may not warrant drawing any kind of insight from an aggregate score. That said, I tried averaging one person's scores across a number of weeks and it seemed to be useful in that I could see that her lower average week was a week that she also had a cold, for instance.

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  • $\begingroup$ It is an interesting question but surely, the question on what you should provide your boss and team should be directed to them? We can't tell you what you should provide your team as they need the information for their specific purposes. If you were to ask what benefit it would provide or what pitfalls there would be if an aggregate score was given on top of other scores, then that would be a different matter. We could help you to evaluate the benefits/pitfalls of providing different information. $\endgroup$ Oct 11 '20 at 9:13
  • $\begingroup$ Oh my. Okay. Fair enough. I am primarily interested in others' analysis of benefits and pitfalls--that is the heart of why I asked so thanks for clarifying. But I mentioned the boss and such per your comment that my ? looked like homework because I was trying to show that I was real and this was a real-life situation. I'll remove boss part ASAP and see if that helps. If not probably best to delete question vs. edit it much more because must prioritize work vs. sincere but tangential interest in "the benefits and pitfalls" of aggregating. $\endgroup$ Oct 11 '20 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ I understand what you're saying and I thought I would step in and help via an edit. If you are not happy with the edit, feel free to tweak it to your satisfaction. $\endgroup$ Oct 11 '20 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. I am still concerned that this question is directly soliciting opinion-based rather than evidence-based answers. Additionally, this may be more of a stats.SE question than a psych.SE question. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Oct 12 '20 at 0:24
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg - This is a question relating to neurological injury stats, so like neuroscientific computer questions, wouldn't this be acceptable as it would help students with stats building? $\endgroup$ Oct 12 '20 at 6:27

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