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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2014 Aug 22;12:125. doi: 10.1186/s12955-014-0125-0.

Patient reports of health outcome for adults living with sickle cell disease: development and testing of the ASCQ-Me item banks.

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Department of Health Policy and Research, Quality and Performance Measurement Program, American Institutes for Research, 100 Europa Drive, Suite 315, Chapel Hill 27517-2357, NC, USA.



Providers and patients have called for improved understanding of the health care requirements of adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) and have identified the need for a systematic, reliable and valid method to document the patient-reported outcomes (PRO) of adult SCD care. To address this need, the Adult Sickle Cell Quality of Life Measurement System (ASCQ-Me) was designed to complement the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMISĀ®). Here we describe methods and results of the psychometric evaluation of ASCQ-Me item banks (IBs).


At seven geographically-disbursed clinics within the US, 556 patients responded to questions generated to assess cognitive, emotional, physical and social impacts of SCD. We evaluated the construct validity of the hypothesized domains using exploratory factor analysis (EFA), parallel analysis (PA), and bi-factor analysis (Item Response Theory Graded Response Model, IRT-GRM). We used IRT-GRM and the Wald method to identify bias in responses across gender and age. We used IRT and Cronbach's alpha coefficient to evaluate the reliability of the IBs and then tested the ability of summary scores based on IRT calibrations to discriminate among tertiles of respondents defined by SCD severity.


Of the original 140 questions tested, we eliminated 48 that either did not form clean factors or provided biased measurement across subgroups defined by age and gender. Via EFA and PA, we identified three subfactors within physical impact: sleep, pain and stiffness impacts. Analysis of the resulting six item sets (sleep, pain, stiffness, cognitive, emotional and social impacts of SCD) supported their essential unidimensionality. With the exception of the cognitive impact IB, these item sets also were highly reliable across a broad range of values and highly significantly related to SCD disease severity.


ASCQ-Me pain, sleep, stiffness, emotional and social SCD impact IBs demonstrated exceptional measurement properties using modern and classical psychometric methods of evaluation. Further development of the cognitive impact IB is required to improve its sensitivity to differences in SCD disease severity. Future research will evaluate the sensitivity of the ASCQ-Me IBs to change in SCD disease severity over time due to health interventions.

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