A preference-based item response theory model to measure health: Concept and mathematics of the multi-attribute preference response model

Catharina G.M. Groothuis-Oudshoorn*, Edwin R. Van Den Heuvel, Paul F.M. Krabbe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: A new patient-reported health measurement model has been developed to quantify descriptions of health states. Known as the multi-attribute preference response (MAPR) model, it is based on item response theory. The response task in the MAPR is for a patient to judge whether hypothetical health-state descriptions are better or worse than his/her own health status. Methods: In its most simple form MAPR is a Rasch model where for each respondent on the same unidimensional health scale values are estimated of their own health status and values of the hypothetical comparator health states. These values reflect the quality or severity of the health states. Alternatively, the respondents are offered health-state descriptions that are based on a classification system (e.g., multi-attribute) with a fixed number of health attributes, each with a limited number of levels. In the latter variant, the weights of the levels of the attributes in the descriptive system, which represents the range of the health states, are estimated. The results of a small empirical study are presented to illustrate the procedures of the MAPR model and possible extensions of the model are discussed. Results: The small study that we conducted to illustrate the procedure and results of our proposed method to measure the quality of health states and patients' own health status showed confirming results. Conclusions: This paper introduces the typical MAPR model and shows how it extends the basic Rasch model with a regression function for the attributes of the health-state classification system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalBMC medical research methodology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2018


  • Health status
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Latent logistic test model
  • Patient-reported measurement
  • Rasch model

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