Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 8, pp 1452–1458 | Cite as

Use of PROMIS-29® in US Veterans: Diagnostic Concordance and Domain Comparisons with the General Population

  • Sherri L. LaVelaEmail author
  • Bella Etingen
  • Scott Miskevics
  • David Cella
Original Research



PROMIS® items have not been widely or systematically used within the Veterans Health Administration (VA).


To examine the concordance of PROMIS-29® scores and medical record diagnosis in US Veterans and to compare Veteran scores relative to US population norms.


Cross-sectional multi-site survey of Veterans (n = 3221) provided sociodemographic and PROMIS-29® domain data. Electronic medical records provided health condition (depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, pain disorders) diagnosis data.

Main Measures

For each domain, we calculated PROMIS® standardized T scores and used t tests to compare PROMIS® scores for Veterans diagnosed with each targeted health condition vs. those without that documented clinical diagnosis and compare mean Veterans’ PROMIS-29® with US adult population norms.

Key Results

Veterans with (vs. without) a depression diagnosis reported significantly higher PROMIS® depression scores (60.3 vs. 49.6, p < .0001); those with an anxiety diagnosis (vs. without) reported higher average PROMIS® anxiety scores (62.7 vs. 50.9, p < .0001). Veterans with (vs. without) a pain disorder reported higher pain interference (65.3 vs. 57.7, p < .0001) and pain intensity (6.4 vs. 4.4, p < .0001). Veterans with (vs. without) a sleep disorder reported higher sleep disturbance (55.8 vs. 51.2, p < .0001) and fatigue (57.5 vs. 51.8, p < .0001) PROMIS® scores. Compared with the general population norms, Veterans scored worse across all PROMIS-29® domains.


We found that PROMIS-29® domains are selectively sensitive to expected differences between clinically-defined groups, suggesting their appropriateness as indicators of condition symptomology among Veterans. Notably, Veterans scored worse across all PROMIS-29(R) domains compared with population norms. Taken collectively, our findings suggest that PROMIS-29® may be a useful tool for VA providers to assess patient’s physical and mental health, and because PROMIS® items are normed to the general population, this offers a way to compare the health of Veterans with the adult population at large and identify disparate areas for intervention.


patient-reported outcomes Veterans health-related quality of life physical health mental health social role PROMIS 



This material is based on work supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, and Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Cella has NIH grant funding at Northwestern University for PROMIS. All remaining authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.


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Copyright information

© Society for General Internal Medicine (This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherri L. LaVela
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Bella Etingen
    • 1
  • Scott Miskevics
    • 1
  • David Cella
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Veterans Affairs, Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare, Health Services Research & DevelopmentEdward Hines Jr. VA HospitalHinesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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