Measurement properties of the Dizziness Handicap Inventory by cross-sectional and longitudinal designs

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2009 Dec 21:7:101. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-7-101.


Background: The impact of dizziness on quality of life is often assessed by the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), which is used as a discriminate and evaluative measure. The aim of the present study was to examine reliability and validity of a translated Norwegian version (DHI-N), also examining responsiveness to important change in the construct being measured.

Methods: Two samples (n = 92 and n = 27) included participants with dizziness of mainly vestibular origin. A cross-sectional design was used to examine the factor structure (exploratory factor analysis), internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha), concurrent validity (Pearson's product moment correlation r), and discriminate ability (ROC curve analysis). Longitudinal designs were used to examine test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) statistics, smallest detectable difference (SDD)), and responsiveness (Pearson's product moment correlation, ROC curve analysis; area under the ROC curve (AUC), and minimally important change (MIC)). The DHI scores range from 0 to 100.

Results: Factor analysis revealed a different factor structure than the original DHI, resulting in dismissal of subscale scores in the DHI-N. Acceptable internal consistency was found for the total scale (alpha = 0.95). Concurrent correlations between the DHI-N and other related measures were moderate to high, highest with Vertigo Symptom Scale-short form-Norwegian version (r = 0.69), and lowest with preferred gait (r = - 0.36). The DHI-N demonstrated excellent ability to discriminate between participants with and without 'disability', AUC being 0.89 and best cut-off point = 29 points. Satisfactory test-retest reliability was demonstrated, and the change for an individual should be >/= 20 DHI-N points to exceed measurement error (SDD). Correlations between change scores of DHI-N and other self-report measures of functional health and symptoms were high (r = 0.50 - 0.57). Responsiveness of the DHI-N was excellent, AUC = 0.83, discriminating between self-perceived 'improved' versus 'unchanged' participants. The MIC was identified as 11 DHI-N points.

Conclusions: The DHI-N total scale demonstrated satisfactory measurement properties. This is the first study that has addressed and demonstrated responsiveness to important change of the DHI, and provided values of SDD and MIC to help interpret change scores.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Dizziness* / classification
  • Dizziness* / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Quality of Life*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Translations
  • Young Adult