The Xerostomia Inventory: a multi-item approach to measuring dry mouth

Community Dent Health. 1999 Mar;16(1):12-7.


Objective: To develop a valid multi-item method of measuring the symptoms of xerostomia which includes the wide range of xerostomia symptoms in a single quantitative measure.

Design: A combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches.

Setting: A cohort study in South Australia.

Participants: Older people aged 65 years or more who were taking part in the South Australian Dental Longitudinal Study.

Measures: Xerostomia symptoms were evaluated using a multi-item inventory format and, for comparison purposes, a standard single dry-mouth question. Resting whole-salivary flow rate was estimated using the 'spit' method.

Results: Xerostomia and flow-rate data were available for 636 individuals. Factor analysis revealed the presence of a discrete xerostomia dimension, represented by 11 items whose responses were summated to give a single Xerostomia Inventory (XI) scale score. This had a very low correlation with resting flow rate but a much stronger, positive correlation with the standard dry-mouth question responses.

Conclusions: The XI shows adequate content and concurrent validity, and appears to be a promising advance on previous approaches to xerostomia symptomatology although further testing is required.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • South Australia
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Xerostomia / diagnosis*