Item banks for measuring emotional distress from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®): depression, anxiety, and anger

Assessment. 2011 Sep;18(3):263-83. doi: 10.1177/1073191111411667. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


The authors report on the development and calibration of item banks for depression, anxiety, and anger as part of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®). Comprehensive literature searches yielded an initial bank of 1,404 items from 305 instruments. After qualitative item analysis (including focus groups and cognitive interviewing), 168 items (56 for each construct) were written in a first person, past tense format with a 7-day time frame and five response options reflecting frequency. The calibration sample included nearly 15,000 respondents. Final banks of 28, 29, and 29 items were calibrated for depression, anxiety, and anger, respectively, using item response theory. Test information curves showed that the PROMIS item banks provided more information than conventional measures in a range of severity from approximately -1 to +3 standard deviations (with higher scores indicating greater distress). Short forms consisting of seven to eight items provided information comparable to legacy measures containing more items.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anger*
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Emotions*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Information Systems / organization & administration
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Qualitative Research
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult