New Questionnaire for Measuring Participation and Social Functioning in Fibromyalgia Patients

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Participation and social functioning in patients with fibromyalgia: development and testing of a new questionnaire.


BACKGROUND: While there are numerous instruments for capturing the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients, there is a lack of questionnaires capable of measuring in detail FMS patients' participation and social functioning. It was our aim to develop and methodologically test a new patient questionnaire specific to FMS measuring these concepts (the "Fibromyalgia Participation Questionnaire" FPQ).

METHODS: We first conducted a qualitative prestudy (focus groups, N = 38) to identify which impairments FMS patients experience in daily life because of their illness. To analyze the data we developed a coding system that contained 10 supercategories and a total of 105 subcategories. Items for the FPQ were developed from the subcategories. The psychometric analysis was done on a sample of N = 256 FMS patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation in Germany.

RESULTS: The final version of the FPQ contained 27 items and three scales (participation in social life FPQ-S, 11 items; participation in daily life FPQ-D, 11 items, participation in work-life FPQ-W 5 items).

  • The FPQ displays good distribution properties, all the scales are unidimensional, and the scales fit to the Rasch model.

  • Cronbach's Alpha range from 0.85 to 0.94.

  • We noted indications of construct validity in that the FPQ correlates as expected with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (physical scale), Pain Disability Index and scales from the PROMIS® item banks for satisfaction with participation.

  • The FPQ scales generally reveal greater responsiveness than other instruments.

  • By linking FPQ items to the categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) we demonstrate content validity.

CONCLUSIONS: The FPQ captures participation and social functioning in FMS patients. As its psychometric properties are good, it can be recommended for use in evaluation studies and clinical trials.

Source: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, August 5, 2013. By Erik Farin, Antje Ullrich and Johannes Hauer.  Department of Quality Management and Social Medicine, University Freiburg-Medical Center, Engelbergerstr 21, Freiburg D-79106, Germany.

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