Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 2663–2673 | Cite as

Guidelines for secondary analysis in search of response shift

  • Carolyn E. Schwartz
  • Sara Ahmed
  • Richard Sawatzky
  • Tolulope Sajobi
  • Nancy Mayo
  • Joel Finkelstein
  • Lisa Lix
  • Mathilde G. E. Verdam
  • Frans J. Oort
  • Mirjam A. G. Sprangers



Response shift methods have developed substantially in the past decade, with a notable emphasis on model-based methods for response shift detection that are appropriate for the analysis of existing data sets. These secondary data analyses have yielded useful insights and motivated the continued growth of response shift methods. However, there are also challenges inherent to the successful use of secondary analysis for response shift detection. Based on our experience with a number of secondary analyses, we propose guidelines for the optimal implementation of secondary analysis for detecting response shift.


We review the definition of response shift and recent advances in response shift theory. We describe current statistical methods that have been developed for or applied to response shift detection. We then discuss lessons learned when using these methods to test specific hypotheses about response shift in existing data and of the features of a data set that could guide early decision-making about undertaking a secondary analysis.


A checklist is provided that includes guidelines for secondary analyses focusing on: (1) selecting an appropriate data set to investigate response shift; (2) prerequisites of data sets and their preparation for analysis; (3) managing missing data; (4) confirming that the data fit the requirements and assumptions of the selected response shift detection technique; (5) model fit evaluation; (6) interpreting results/response shift effect sizes; and (7) comparing findings across methods.


The guidelines-checklist has the potential to stimulate rigorous and replicable research using existing data sets and to assist investigators in assessing the appropriateness and potential of a data set and model-based methods for response shift research.


Response shift Analytic Methods Guidelines 



Ideas from this manuscript were previously presented as part of a symposium presentation at the International Society for Quality of Life (ISOQOL) in October 2012, in Budapest, Hungary. This work grew out of collaborations among members of the ISOQOL Response Shift Special Interest Group and was funded in part by a Catalyst grant award from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (Grant #103630), and a Career Award (Grant #13870) from the Fond de Recherche en Sante du Quebec to Dr. Ahmed. Drs. Sawatzky, Sajobi, Mayo, and Lix are supported by an operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. Lisa Lix is supported by a Manitoba Research Chair. We are grateful for assistance with manuscript preparation from Brian R. Quaranto, B.S.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn E. Schwartz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sara Ahmed
    • 3
  • Richard Sawatzky
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tolulope Sajobi
    • 6
  • Nancy Mayo
    • 3
  • Joel Finkelstein
    • 7
  • Lisa Lix
    • 8
  • Mathilde G. E. Verdam
    • 9
    • 10
  • Frans J. Oort
    • 10
  • Mirjam A. G. Sprangers
    • 9
  1. 1.DeltaQuest Foundation, Inc.ConcordUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and Orthopaedic SurgeryTufts University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine, School of Physical TherapyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Trinity Western University School of NursingLangleyCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome SciencesVancouverCanada
  6. 6.Department of Community Health SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  7. 7.Division of Orthopaedics, Sunnybrook Health Sciences CenterThe University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Department of Community Health SciencesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  9. 9.Department of Medical Psychology, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  10. 10.Department of EducationUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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