Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 2443–2454 | Cite as

Psychometric evaluation of the EORTC computerized adaptive test (CAT) fatigue item pool

  • Morten Aa. PetersenEmail author
  • Johannes M. Giesinger
  • Bernhard Holzner
  • Juan I. Arraras
  • Thierry Conroy
  • Eva-Maria Gamper
  • Madeleine T. King
  • Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw
  • Teresa Young
  • Mogens Groenvold



Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. To obtain a more precise and flexible measure of fatigue, the EORTC Quality of Life Group has developed a computerized adaptive test (CAT) measure of fatigue. This is part of an ongoing project developing a CAT version of the widely used EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire.


Based on the literature search and evaluations by experts and patients, 41 new fatigue items were developed (in addition to the three QLQ-C30 fatigue items). Psychometric properties of the items, including evaluations of dimensionality, fit to item response theory (IRT) model, and differential item functioning (DIF), were assessed in an international sample of cancer patients.


Responses were obtained from 1,321 cancer patients coming from eight countries. Factor analysis showed that 37 of the items could be included in a unidimensional model (RMSEA = 0.098, TLI = 0.995, CFI = 0.920). Of the 37 items, two were deleted because of poor fit to the IRT model forming the basis for the CAT, and one because of DIF between cancer sites.


We have established a 34-item fatigue bank allowing for more precise and flexible measurement of fatigue, while still being backward compatible with the QLQ-C30 fatigue scale.


Computerized adaptive test EORTC QLQ-C30 Fatigue Item banking Item response theory Quality of life 



Computerized adaptive test


Comparative Fit Index


Differential item functioning


European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer


Generalized partial credit model


Health-related quality of life


Item response theory


Patient-reported outcome


Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System


Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30


Root mean square error of approximation


Tucker–Lewis Index



The study was funded by grants from the EORTC Quality of Life Group. The authors would like to thank the patients responding to our items and our collaborators for collecting these essential patient responses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morten Aa. Petersen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johannes M. Giesinger
    • 2
  • Bernhard Holzner
    • 2
  • Juan I. Arraras
    • 3
  • Thierry Conroy
    • 4
  • Eva-Maria Gamper
    • 2
  • Madeleine T. King
    • 5
  • Irma M. Verdonck-de Leeuw
    • 6
  • Teresa Young
    • 7
  • Mogens Groenvold
    • 1
    • 8
  1. 1.The Research Unit, Department of Palliative MedicineBispebjerg University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  3. 3.Medical Oncology DepartmentHospital of NavarrePamplonaSpain
  4. 4.Medical Oncology DepartmentCentre Alexis VautrinVandoeuvre-lès-NancyFrance
  5. 5.Quality of Life Office, Psycho-oncology Co-operative Research Group, School of PsychologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  6. 6.Clinical PsychologyVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Lynda Jackson Macmillan CentreMount Vernon Cancer CentreMiddxUK
  8. 8.Institute of Public HealthUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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