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OBJECTIVES: To develop a patient-based, disease-specific measure of the health impact of multiple sclerosis (MS) for use in clinical trials and clinical practice. DATA SOURCES: People with MS. Members of the MS Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. METHODS: Standard psychometric methods were used to develop the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29) in three stages. Stage 1 (item generation): questionnaire items were generated from 30 patient interviews on the impact of MS on their lives, expert opinion and literature review. Stage 2 (item reduction and scale generation): the questionnaire developed in stage 1 was administered by postal survey to 1530 randomly selected members of the MS Society. Standard item reduction techniques were used to develop a rating scale from the pool of questionnaire items. Stage 3 (psychometric evaluation): the questionnaire was evaluated for data quality, scaling assumptions, acceptability, reliability and validity in a separate postal survey of 1250 MS Society members. Responsiveness was evaluated in 55 people admitted to hospital for rehabilitation and intravenous steroid treatment of MS relapses. RESULTS: Stage 1 resulted in a 129-item questionnaire. Stage 2 resulted in a 29-item rating scale measuring the physical and psychological impact of MS. The MSIS-29 satisfied all recommended psychometric criteria for rigorous measurement. Data quality was excellent: missing data were low, item test-retest reliability was high and scale scores could be generated for over 98% of respondents. Item descriptive statistics, item convergent and discriminant validity, and factor analysis supported summing items to produce two summary scores. MSIS-29 physical and psychological scale scores showed good variability, low floor and ceiling effects, good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Correlations with other measures and confirmation of hypotheses about group differences provided evidence for the validity of the MSIS-29 as a measure of the physical and psychological impact of multiple sclerosis. Effect sizes provided preliminary evidence for responsiveness. CONCLUSIONS: The 29-item MSIS-29 is a rigorous new measure of the physical and psychological impact of MS. All psychometric criteria were satisfied and there is preliminary evidence of responsiveness. The MSIS-29 is particularly appropriate for use in clinical trials to evaluate therapeutic effectiveness from the patient's perspective. Further critical evaluations of the MSIS-29 completed by people with neurologist-confirmed MS in different settings are suggested. Head-to-head comparisons of the psychometric properties of the MSIS-29 and other outcome measures for MS will help to determine the relative advantages of different instruments so that the choice of measures for studies can be evidence based.


Journal article


Health Technol Assess

Publication Date





iii - 48


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Health Services Research, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Multiple Sclerosis, Psychometrics, Random Allocation, Surveys and Questionnaires, Treatment Outcome, United Kingdom