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Psychol Rep. 1995 Oct;77(2):475-80.

Preconditions for sensitivity in measuring change: visual analogue scales compared to rating scales in a Likert format.

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Department of Medical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In a study of preconditions of responsiveness, we examined the variances obtained by two different ways of responding to questionnaire items. Subjects were 168 first-year medical students. They all completed a questionnaire of nine items. The original Likert-like scoring was (partially) replaced by visual analogue scoring in three quarters of the questionnaires. For three items the analogue form had a significantly greater variance than the discrete form, but no discrete item had a significantly greater variance than its analogue counterpart. Assuming that a greater variance was indicative for a greater responsiveness, our findings provide some support for the preferred use of analogue scales over discrete response categories in the measurement of changes over time.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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