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Eura Medicophys. 2005 Dec;41(4):275-81.

Critical comparison of nine different self-administered questionnaires for the evaluation of disability caused by low back pain.

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Institute of Biomathematics, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy.



The aim of this study was to critically compare 9 self-administered questionnaires designed to evaluate disability caused by back pain.


The questionnaires were analyzed considering and comparing their psychometric characteristics (reliability, validity, responsiveness, minimal clinically relevant difference), together with other practical and technical aspects (number of items, number and kind of domains, scaling of items, scoring, time to complete, validated translations, etc.). Data were obtained from scientific literature.


Only 3 out of 9 analyzed instruments (i.e., the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire, the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale, and the Roland-Morris Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire) appear fully validated from a psychometric standpoint.


On the basis of psychometric evaluations as well as feasibility considerations, the authors suggest using either the Roland-Morris or Oswestry questionnaire as the best assessment of the level of disability caused by back pain.

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