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

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Group


    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 13,010 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.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)902-8
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005


    • Adult
    • Databases, Factual
    • Emotions
    • Fatigue
    • Female
    • Health Status
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Models, Statistical
    • Neoplasm Staging
    • Neoplasms/physiopathology
    • Quality of Life
    • Reproducibility of Results
    • Sample Size
    • Surveys and Questionnaires


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