A comparison of Rasch item-fit and Cronbach's alpha item reduction analysis for the development of a Quality of Life scale for children and adolescents

M. Erhart, C. Hagquist, P. Auquier, L. Rajmil, M. Power, U. Ravens-Sieberer, European KIDSCREEN Grp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective

This study compares item reduction analysis based on classical test theory (maximizing Cronbach's alpha - approach A), with analysis based on the Rasch Partial Credit Model item-fit (approach B), as applied to children and adolescents' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) items. The reliability and structural, cross-cultural and known-group validity of the measures were examined.

Methods

Within the European KIDSCREEN project, 3019 children and adolescents (8-18 years) from seven European countries answered 19 HRQoL items of the Physical Well-being dimension of a preliminary KIDSCREEN instrument. The Cronbach's alpha and corrected item total correlation (approach A) were compared with infit mean squares and the Q-index item-fit derived according to a partial credit model (approach B). Cross-cultural differential item functioning (DIF ordinal logistic regression approach), structural validity (confirmatory factor analysis and residual correlation) and relative validity (RV) for socio-demographic and health-related factors were calculated for approaches (A) and (B).

Results

Approach (A) led to the retention of 13 items, compared with 11 items with approach (B). The item overlap was 69% for (A) and 78% for (B). The correlation coefficient of the summated ratings was 0.93. The Cronbach's alpha was similar for both versions [0.86 (A); 0.85 (B)]. Both approaches selected some items that are not strictly unidimensional and items displaying DIF. RV ratios favoured (A) with regard to socio-demographic aspects. Approach (B) was superior in RV with regard to health-related aspects.

Conclusion

Both types of item reduction analysis should be accompanied by additional analyses. Neither of the two approaches was universally superior with regard to cultural, structural and known-group validity. However, the results support the usability of the Rasch method for developing new HRQoL measures for children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

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