Validity and responsiveness of the Michigan Hand Questionnaire in patients with systemic sclerosis

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Objective. The aim was to assess the validity and responsiveness of the Michigan Hand Questionnaire (MHQ) in patients with SSc.

Methods. Data were gathered in connection with a randomized, controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of a 12-week multidisciplinary team care programme, including a hand function treatment module, with regular care. Hand function was evaluated by the MHQ (37 items, six domains: Function, Daily activities, Pain, Work, Aesthetics and Satisfaction) and other measurements, including the HAQ, Hand Mobility in Scleroderma, Sequential Occupational Dexterity Assessment (SODA), grip strength, pinch grip and modified Rodnan Skin Score. Fifty-three patients (28 intervention group and 25 control group) completed evaluation at baseline and after 12 weeks. Validity was determined by computing Spearman correlation coefficients between the baseline MHQ total score and subscales and other measures of (hand) disability. Responsiveness in the intervention group was evaluated by the standardized response mean and effect size (ES). In addition, the pooled ES for the difference between the two groups was computed.

Results. Significant correlations were seen between the MHQ total score and the HAQ (r = −0.62), Hand Mobility in Scleroderma (r = −0.54), SODA (r = 0.47), SODA Pain (r = 0.32) and modified Rodnan Skin Score (r = 0.46). The ES of the MHQ total score within the intervention group was 0.49, which was larger than that of all other outcome measures. Similar results were obtained for the standardized response mean. The pooled ES of the difference between intervention and control groups for the MHQ total score was 0.86.

Conclusion. The MHQ demonstrated adequate validity and responsiveness in patients with SSc.

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