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Stat Med. 1995 Feb 28;14(4):331-45.

Methodological and statistical problems in the construction of composite measurement scales: a survey of six medical and epidemiological journals.

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Département de Biostatistique et d'Informatique Médicale, Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France.


Composite measurement scales (CMS) are increasingly used in medicine to measure complex phenomena or concepts such as disease risk and severity, physical and psychological functioning and quality of life. To investigate the methodology currently used in the construction of CMS, we examined 46 studies recently published in six major medical and epidemiological journals. Important measurement properties such as measurement level, content and construct validity and reliability are often neglected. Statistical methods, particularly multivariate methods are frequently misused; verifications of model relevance and assumptions, and cross-validations to avoid overfitting are seldom performed. We propose recommendations for the construction and the presentation of CMS, to help authors and investigators to report and choose, respectively, measurement instruments for a complex phenomenon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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