COMPI Fertility Problem Stress Scales is a brief, valid and reliable tool for assessing stress in patients seeking treatment

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Abstract

STUDY QUESTION

Are the Copenhagen Multi‐Centre Psychosocial Infertility research program Fertility Problem Stress Scales (COMPI-FPSS) a reliable and valid measure across gender and culture?

SUMMARY ANSWER

The COMPI-FPSS is a valid and reliable measure, presenting excellent or good fit in the majority of the analyzed countries, and demonstrating full invariance across genders and partial invariance across cultures.

WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY

Cross-cultural and gender validation is needed to consider a measure as standard care within fertility. The present study is the first attempting to establish comparability of fertility-related stress across genders and countries.

STUDY DESIGN SIZE, DURATION

Cross-sectional study. First, we tested the structure of the COMPI-FPSS. Then, reliability and validity (convergent and discriminant) were examined for the final model. Finally, measurement invariance both across genders and cultures was tested.

PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS

Our final sample had 3923 fertility patients (1691 men and 2232 women) recruited in clinical settings from seven different countries: Denmark, China, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Sweden. Participants had a mean age of 34 years and the majority (84%) were childless.

MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE

Findings confirmed the original three-factor structure of the COMPI-FPSS, although suggesting a shortened measurement model using less items that fitted the data better than the full version model. While data from the Chinese and Croatian subsamples did not fit, all other counties presented good fit (χ2/df ≤ 5.4; comparative fit index ≥ 0.94; root-mean-square error of approximation ≤ 0.07; modified expected cross-validation index ≤ 0.77). In general, reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity were observed in all subscales from each country (composite reliability ≥ 0.63; average variance extracted ≥ 0.38; squared correlation ≥ 0.13). Full invariance was established across genders, and partial invariance was demonstrated across countries.

LIMITATIONS REASONS FOR CAUTION

Generalizability regarding the validation of the COMPI-FPSS cannot be made regarding infertile individuals not seeking treatment, or non-European patients. This study did not investigate predictive validity, and hence the capability of this instrument in detecting changes in fertility-specific adjustment over time and predicting the psychological impact needs to be established in future research.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS

Besides extending knowledge on the psychometric properties of one of the most used fertility stress questionnaire, this study demonstrates both research and clinical usefulness of the COMPI-FPSS.

STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)

This study was supported by European Union Funds (FEDER/COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Program, and by national funds (FCT—Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the projects PTDC/MHC-PSC/4195/2012 and SFRH/BPD/85789/2012). There are no conflicts of interest to declare.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER

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