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.