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Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2010 Nov;62(11):1559-68. doi: 10.1002/acr.20282. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Measuring fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional study to evaluate the Bristol Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Multi-Dimensional questionnaire, visual analog scales, and numerical rating scales.

Author information

1
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Joanna.Nicklin@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Current patient-reported outcome measures of fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have limitations, providing only a global perspective. This study constructed a questionnaire (the Bristol RA Fatigue Multi-Dimensional Questionnaire [BRAF-MDQ]) from 45 preliminary questions derived from analysis of patient interviews and surveys and explored its structure for fatigue dimensions. The BRAF-MDQ and short BRAF numerical rating scales (NRS) and visual analog scales (VAS) for severity, effect, and ability to cope with fatigue were evaluated for validity.

METHODS:

Two hundred twenty-nine RA patients with fatigue (VAS score ≥5 of 10) completed preliminary BRAF and comparator fatigue scales. Iterative analyses informed item removal or retention in the BRAF-MDQ and identification of subscales (using Cronbach's alpha for internal consistency and factor analysis to identify dimensions). The BRAF-MDQ and short scales were tested in relation to potentially associated variables for criterion and construct validity (Spearman's correlation).

RESULTS:

The 20-item BRAF-MDQ had good internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.932), criterion validity (correlation with other fatigue scales: r = 0.643-0.813), and construct validity (correlations with disability, mood, helplessness, and pain: r = 0.340-0.627). Factor analysis showed 4 distinct dimensions (physical fatigue, living with fatigue, cognition fatigue, and emotional fatigue), which correlated well with the RA Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue scale (r = 0.548-0.834). The BRAF VAS and NRS showed similar criterion and construct validity.

CONCLUSION:

The BRAF instruments include standardized NRS and VAS for fatigue severity, effect, and coping, are RA specific, and have evidence to support validity. The BRAF-MDQ uniquely measures 4 separate dimensions, which may facilitate development of individually-tailored fatigue management programs.

PMID:
20583112
DOI:
10.1002/acr.20282
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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