Differential item functioning (DIF) in the EORTC QLQ-C30: A comparison of baseline, on-treatment and off-treatment data

Neil W. Scott, Peter M. Fayers, N. Aaronson, Andrew Bottomley, Alexander De Graeff, M. Groenvold, Chad Gundy, Michael Koller, Morten A. Petersen, M. Sprangers, M. King, S. Leutenegger, N. Spry, E. Greimel, B. Holzner, A. Bottomley, C. Coens, K. West, G. De Castro, C. De SouzaA. Bezjak, M. Whitehead, M. Groenvold, M. Klee, M. Petersen, A. Brédart, T. Conroy, C. Rodary, M. Berend, B. Bestmann, M. Koller, O. Krauß, T. Küchler, B. Malchow, R. Schwarz, S. Singer, K. Mystakidou, A. Montazeri, C. Brunelli, M. Tamburini, T. Matsuoka, H. Zhao, N. Aaronson, A. De Graeff, R. De Leeuw, M. Muller, M. Sprangers, K. Bjordal, E. Brenne, M. Hjermstad, M. Jordhøy, S. Kaasa, P. Klepstad, S. Sundstrøm, F. Wisløff, Y. B. Cheung, S. B. Tan, J. Thumboo, H. B. Wong, Y. H. Yun, J. Arraras, H. Jayasekara, L. Rajapakse, M. Ahlner-Elmqvist, P. Ballabeni, J. Bernhard, W. C. Chie, U. Abacioglu, J. Blazeby, J. Bruce, A. Davies, P. Fayers, L. Friend, Z. Krukowski, T. Massett, J. Nicklin, J. Ramage, N. Scott, A. Smyth-Cull, T. Young, D. Cella, D. L. Esseltine, C. Gotay, I. Pagano

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Differential item functioning (DIF) analyses can be used to explore translation, cultural, gender or other differences in the performance of quality of life (QoL) instruments. These analyses are commonly performed using "baseline" or pretreatment data. We previously reported DIF analyses to examine the pattern of item responses for translations of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 QoL instrument, using only data collected prior to cancer treatment. We now compare the consistency of these results with similar analyses of on-treatment and off-treatment assessments and explore whether item relationships differ from those at baseline. Methods: Logistic regression DIF analyses were used to examine the translation of each item in each multi-item scale at the three time points, after controlling for the overall scale score and other covariates. The consistency of results at the three time points was explored. Results: For most EORTC QLQ-C30 subscales, the DIF results were very consistent across the three time points. Results for the Nausea and Vomiting scale varied the most across assessments. Discussion: The results indicated that DIF analyses were stable across each time point and that the same DIF effects were usually found regardless of the treatment status of the respondent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Differential item functioning
  • Off-treatment
  • On-treatment
  • Pretreatment


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