Applying multidimensional computerized adaptive testing to the MSQOL-54: a simulation study

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2023 Jun 25;21(1):61. doi: 10.1186/s12955-023-02152-8.


Background: The Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 (MSQOL-54) is one of the most commonly-used MS-specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures. It is a multidimensional, MS-specific HRQOL inventory, which includes the generic SF-36 core items, supplemented with 18 MS-targeted items. Availability of an adaptive short version providing immediate item scoring may improve instrument usability and validity. However, multidimensional computerized adaptive testing (MCAT) has not been previously applied to MSQOL-54 items. We thus aimed to apply MCAT to the MSQOL-54 and assess its performance.

Methods: Responses from a large international sample of 3669 MS patients were assessed. We calibrated 52 (of the 54) items using bifactor graded response model (10 group factors and one general HRQOL factor). Then, eight simulations were run with different termination criteria: standard errors (SE) for the general factor and group factors set to different values, and change in factor estimates from one item to the next set at < 0.01 for both the general and the group factors. Performance of the MCAT was assessed by the number of administered items, root mean square difference (RMSD), and correlation.

Results: Eight items were removed due to local dependency. The simulation with SE set to 0.32 (general factor), and no SE thresholds (group factors) provided satisfactory performance: the median number of administered items was 24, RMSD was 0.32, and correlation was 0.94.

Conclusions: Compared to the full-length MSQOL-54, the simulated MCAT required fewer items without losing precision for the general HRQOL factor. Further work is needed to add/integrate/revise MSQOL-54 items in order to make the calibration and MCAT performance efficient also on group factors, so that the MCAT version may be used in clinical practice and research.

Keywords: Bifactor model; Health-related quality of life; Item response theory; MSQOL-54; Multidimensional computerized adaptive test; Multiple sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Computer Simulation
  • Computerized Adaptive Testing* / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / diagnosis
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires