Rasch analysis of 24-, 18- and 11-item versions of the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire

Qual Life Res. 2009 May;18(4):473-81. doi: 10.1007/s11136-009-9456-4. Epub 2009 Feb 24.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine fit of the original 24-item Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire and three short-form versions to a Rasch model with particular attention to targeting of item difficulty and to differential item functioning.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 140 people with low back pain seeking physiotherapy treatment. Data were analysed using a dichotomous Rasch model.

Results: All versions showed adequate overall data fit to the Rasch model, with few misfitting items. Person separation was around 0.85 for all versions. Item 5 (use a handrail to get upstairs) showed differential item functioning by age. Targeting of persons of high ability was poor and short-form versions also had poor targeting of persons of low ability. Items of similar difficulty clustered in the centre of the logit scale.

Conclusion: Although the Roland data fit the Rasch model, there were insufficient items of higher difficulty to sufficiently evaluate disability in persons with mild disability. Short-form versions also lacked items of lower difficulty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult