Application of the health assessment questionnaire disability index to various rheumatic diseases

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Purpose To investigate whether the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI) can serve as a generic instrument for measuring disability across different rheumatic diseases and to propose a scoring method based on item response theory (IRT) modeling to support this goal. Methods The HAQ-DI was administered to a cross-sectional sample of patients with confirmed rheumatoid arthritis (n = 619), osteoarthritis (n = 125), or gout (n = 102). The results were analyzed using the generalized partial credit model as an IRT model. Results It was found that 4 out of 8 item categories of the HAQ-DI displayed substantial differential item functioning (DIF) over the three diseases. Further, it was shown that this DIF could be modeled using an IRT model with disease-specific item parameters, which produces measures that are comparable for the three diseases. Conclusion Although the HAQ-DI partially functioned differently in the three disease groups, the measurement regarding the disability level of the patients can be made comparable using IRT methods
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1255-1263
JournalQuality of life research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-272627
  • IR-82759


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