Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate unidimensionality and differential item functioning of the SF-36 physical functioning scale (PF10) in patients with various neurological disorders. Patients: Patients post-stroke (n = 198), with multiple sclerosis (n = 151) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 193) participated. Methods: Unidimensionality of the PF10 within the patient groups was investigated by performing a separate Rasch analysis for each group. Differential item functioning was investigated in a pooled Rasch analysis of the 3 groups. Results: Within each group, all items fitted the Rasch model, except the "bathing/dressing" item in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis group. The pooled analysis showed inadequate fit to the Rasch model for one item ("walking several hundred metres"). Of the other 9 fitting items, 5 showed differential item functioning for stroke vs multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, while no differential item functioning was found between multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Conclusion: All items of the PF10, except one for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis group, form a unidimensional scale, supporting the use of a sum score as a measure of physical functioning within these diagnostic groups. When comparing the data of patients after stroke, with that of patients with multiple sclerosis and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients, adjustments for differential item functioning are required.

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Keywords Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Cross-diagnostic validity, Differential item functioning, Multiple sclerosis, Physical functioning, Rasch model, Stroke
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.2340/16501977-0024, hdl.handle.net/1765/37096
Dallmeijer, A.J, de Groot, V, Roorda, L.D, Schepers, V.P.M, Lindeman, E, van den Berg, L.H, … van Baalen, B. (2007). Cross-diagnostic validity of the SF-36 physical functioning scale in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A study using Rasch analysis. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 39(2), 163–169. doi:10.2340/16501977-0024