Objectives: This study examined the psychometric properties of the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory-Short Form (MFSI-SF) in a community-based sample of African-Americans.
Design: A sample of 340 African-Americans (116 men, 224 women) ranging in age from 18-81 years were recruited from the community (e.g., churches, health fairs, and beauty salons). Participants completed a brief demographic survey, the MFSI-SF and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule.
Results: The structural validity of the MFSI-SF for a community-based sample of African-Americans was not supported. The five dimensions of fatigue (General, Emotional, Physical, Mental, Vigor) found for Whites in prior research were not found for African-Americans in this study. Instead, fatigue, while multidimensional for African-Americans, was best represented by a unique four-four profile in which general and emotional fatigue are collapsed into a single dimension and physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and vigor are relatively distinct. Hence, in the absence of modifications, the MFSI-SF cannot be considered to be structurally invariant across ethnic groups. A modified four-factor version of the MFSI-SF exhibited excellent internal consistency reliability and evidence supports its convergent validity. Using the modified four-factor version, gender, and age were not meaningfully associated with MFSI-SF scores.
Conclusion: Future research should further examine whether modifications to the MFSI-SF would, as the findings suggest, improve its validity as a measure of multidimensional fatigue in African-Americans.
Keywords: African-American; community sample; factor analysis; fatigue; multidimensional fatigue symptom inventory; reliability; validity.