Association of psychological status and patient-reported physical outcome measures in joint arthroplasty: a lack of divergent validity

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2013 Apr 19;11:64. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-11-64.


Background: Patient-reported outcome measures have become a well-recognised part of outcome assessment in orthopaedic surgery. These questionnaires claim to measure joint-specific dimensions like pain, function in activities of daily living, joint awareness or stiffness. Interference of the patient's psychological status with these orthopaedic questionnaires however may make accurate interpretation difficult.

Methods: We recruited 356 patients after unilateral, primary THA or TKA and performed a postal survey including the Brief Symptom Inventory (psychological distress measure), the Catastrophising Scale (from the Coping Strategies Questionnaire), the WOMAC score (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) and the Forgotten Joint Score--12 (FJS-12). Associations between the different questionnaires were determined calculating Pearson correlation coefficients. Two multiple linear regression models were used to investigate the impact of socio-demographic variables, clinical variables and of the psychological scales (BSI and Catastrophising Scale) separately for the WOMAC score and the FJS-12.

Results: WOMAC-Total score showed strong correlation to Catastrophising (r = 0.79), BSI-Somatisation (r = 0.63) and BSI-GSI (r = 0.54). The FJS-12 demonstrated modest to strong correlation with Catastrophising (r = -0.60), BSI-Somatisation (r = -0.49) and the BSI-GSI (Global Severity Index) (r = -0.44). BSI-GSI and Catastrophising explained 54.3% of variance in a multivariate regression model for the WOMAC score. The same two scales explained 30.0% of variance for the FJS-12.

Conclusions: There is a strong relationship between psychological status and orthopaedic outcome. The scale names of orthopaedic outcome measures suggest to measure specific dimensions like pain, stiffness, function or joint awareness. In fact they largely include patient's psychological status indicating poor divergent validity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Self Report*