Psychometric properties of Short Form-36 Health Survey, EuroQol 5-dimensions, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale in patients with chronic pain


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Abstract

Recent research has highlighted a need for the psychometric evaluation of instruments targeting core domains of the pain experience in chronic pain populations. In this study, the measurement properties of Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36),EuroQol 5-dimensions (EQ-5D) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were analyzed within the item response-theory framework based on data from 35,908 patients. To assess the structural validity of these instruments, the empirical representations of several conceptually substantiated latent structures were compared in a cross-validation procedure. The most structurally sound representations were selected from each questionnaire and their internal consistency reliability computed as a summary of their precision. Finally, questionnaire scores were correlated with each other to evaluate their convergent and discriminant validity. Our results supported that SF-36 is an acceptable measure of 2 independent constructs of physical and mental health. By contrast, although the approach to summarize the health-related quality of life construct of EQ-5D as a unidimensional score was valid, its low reliability rendered practical model implementation of doubtful utility. Finally, rather than being separated into 2 subscales of anxiety and depression, HADS was a valid and reliable measure of overall emotional distress. In support of convergent and discriminant validity, correlations between questionnaires showed that theoretically similar traits were highly associated, whereas unrelated traits were not. Our models can be applied to score SF-36 and HADS in chronic pain patients, but we recommend against using the EQ-5D model due to its low reliability. These results are useful for researchers and clinicians involved in chronic pain populations because questionnaires' properties determine their discriminating ability in patient status assessment.

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