Review article: self-report measures to evaluate constipation

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Apr;27(8):638-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03626.x. Epub 2008 Jan 23.


Background: Constipation is a subjective phenomenon, and as such must be evaluated using patient self-report. Valid and reliable measures of constipation are essential to standardize the diagnosis, assess the severity and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

Aim: To compare and contrast published self-report measures of constipation in terms of development, content, general characteristics, psychometric properties and clinical utility.

Methods: MEDLINE (1966-2007), CINAHL (1980-2007), Cochrane (1993-2007) and Web of Science (1995-2007) were searched to identify self-report measures of constipation. Measures of constipation were selected if they: (i) were self-report measures that measured only constipation; (ii) had undergone psychometric testing; (iii) were used in adults and (iv) were written in English.

Results: Seven self-report measures of constipation were identified. The content areas evaluated by these measures varied. Only two measures had adequate validity and reliability, sensitivity to change, or were tested in more than one sample.

Conclusions: Findings from this review suggest that the Chinese Constipation Questionnaire and the Patient Assessment of Constipation-Symptom Questionnaire demonstrate adequate psychometric properties for a constipation measure. Additional research is warranted to refine or develop a more comprehensive self-report measure to evaluate constipation in adults.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Constipation / diagnosis*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*