The modified Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form: a modified response format and rational scoring rules

Abstract

Purpose

The Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form (MSAS-SF) is a widely used symptom assessment instrument. Patients who self-complete the MSAS-SF have difficulty following the two-part response format, resulting in incorrectly completed responses. We describe modifications to the response format to improve useability, and rational scoring rules for incorrectly completed items.

Methods

The modified MSAS-SF was completed by 311 women in our Peer and Nurse support Trial to Assist women in Gynaecological Oncology; the PeNTAGOn study. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise completion of the modified MSAS-SF, and provide symptom statistics before and after applying the rational scoring rules. Spearman’s correlations with the Functional Assessment for Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were assessed.

Results

Correct completion of the modified MSAS-SF items ranged from 91.5 to 98.7%. The rational scoring rules increased the percentage of useable responses on average 4% across all symptoms. MSAS-SF item statistics were similar with and without the scoring rules. The pattern of correlations with FACT-G and HADS was compatible with prior research.

Conclusion

The modified MSAS-SF was useable for self-completion and responses demonstrated validity. The rational scoring rules can minimise loss of data from incorrectly completed responses. Further investigation is recommended.

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Acknowledgements

Funding was provided by Cancer Australia (Grant No. 566942) and National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant No. GNT1005708).

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Correspondence to P. Schofield.

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Conflict of interest

Dr Victor T. Chang owns stock in Johnson & Johnson. Prof Penelope Schofield is employed by Janssen as a medication adherence expert on an ad hoc basis.

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Sharp, J.L., Gough, K., Pascoe, M.C. et al. The modified Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form: a modified response format and rational scoring rules. Qual Life Res 27, 1903–1910 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11136-018-1855-y

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Keywords

  • Symptom assessment
  • Gynaecological cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Psychological distress