Scoring based on item response theory did not alter the measurement ability of the EORTC QLQ-C30 scales.

M. A. Petersen, M. Groenvold, N. K. Aaronson, E. Brenne, Peter Fayers, J. Damgaard-Nielsen, M. A. G. Sprangers, J. Bjorner, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: Most health-related quality-of-life questionnaires include multi-item scales. Scale scores are usually estimated as simple sums of the item scores. However, scoring procedures utilizing more information from the items might improve measurement abilities, and thereby reduce the needed sample sizes. We investigated whether item response theory (IRT)-based scoring improved the measurement abilities of the EORTC QLQ-C30 physical functioning, emotional functioning, and fatigue scales.

Methods: Using a database of 13,0 10 subjects we estimated the relative validities of IRT scoring compared to sum scoring of the scales.

Results: The mean relative validities were 1.04 (physical), 1.03 (emotional), and 0.97 (fatigue). None of these were significantly larger than 1. Thus, no gain in measurement abilities using IRT scoring was found for these scales. Possible explanations include that the items in the scales are not constructed for IRT scoring and that the scales are relatively short.

Conclusion: IRT scoring of the three longest EORTC QLQ-C30 scales did not improve measurement abilities compared to the traditional sum scoring of the scales. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-908
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number9
Early online date7 Jul 2005
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by grants from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group. The study was based on data contributed by the following individuals: Neil Aaronson, Division of Psychosocial Research & Epidemiology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Marianne Ahlner-Elmqvist, ENT Department, Malmo University Hospital MAS, Malmo, Sweden; Juan I. Arraras, Department of Oncology, Hospital of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain; Jane Blazeby, Department of surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK; Yvonne Brandberg, Psychosocial Unit, Department of Oncology, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden; Anne Bredart, Institut Curie, Psychiatry and Psycho-Oncology Unit, Paris, France; Elisabeth Brenne, Palliative
Medicine Unit, Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Trondheim University Hospital, Norway; Thierry Conroy, Department of Medical Oncology, Centre Alexis Vautrin, Vandoeuvre les Nancy, France; Ann Cull, ICRF Psychology Research Group, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK; Alexander de Graeff, Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Mogens Groenvold, Department of Palliative Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Eva Hammerlid, ENT Department, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden; Marianne Hjermstad, Department
of Oncology, Norwegian Radiumhospital, Oslo, Norway; Marit Jordhoy, Unit of Applied Clinical Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; Julie Damgaard Nielsen, the Research Unit for General Practice, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark; Marianne Sullivan, Health Care Research Unit, Institute of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital,
Gothenburg, Sweden; Galina Velikova, ICRF Cancer Medicine Research Unit, St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, UK; Craig Vickery, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Exeter, UK; Maggie Watson, Psychological Medicine, Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Sutton, UK; Teresa Young, Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital, Middlesex, UK.


  • IRT scoring
  • known-groups comparisons
  • quality of life
  • relative validity
  • sum scoring
  • PF-10


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