Background: The Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form (MSAS-SF), an abbreviated version of the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, measures each of 32 symptoms with respect to distress or frequency alone. A physical symptom subscale (PHYS), psychologic symptom subscale (PSYCH), and global distress index (GDI) can be derived from the Short Form. We validated the MSAS-SF in a population of cancer patients.
Methods: Two hundred ninety-nine cancer patients examined at the Section of Hematology/Oncology completed the MSAS-SF and the Functional Assessment Cancer Therapy (FACT-G). The Karnofsky performance status (KPS), extent of disease (EOD), and demographic data were assessed. The Cronbach alpha coefficient was used to assess internal reliability. MSAS-SF subscales were assessed against subscales of the FACT-G, the KPS, and EOD to determine criterion validity. Test-retest analysis was performed at 1 day and at 1 week.
Results: The Cronbach alpha coefficients for the MSAS-SF subscales ranged from 0.76 to 0.87. The MSAS-SF subscales showed convergent validity with FACT subscales. Correlation coefficients were -0.74 (P < 0.001) for the PHYS and FACT-G physical well-being subscales, -0.68 (P < 0.001) for the PSYCH and FACT emotional well-being subscales, and -0.70 (P < 0.001) for GDI and FACT summary of quality-of-life subscales. The MSAS-SF subscales demonstrated convergent validity with performance status, inpatient status, and extent of disease. The test-retest correlation coefficients for the MSAS-SF subscales ranged from 0.86 to 0.94 at 1 day and from 0.40 to 0.84 for the 1 week group.
Conclusions: The MSAS-SF is a valid and easy to use instrument for symptom assessment.