Psychometric evaluation of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) with Dupuytren's contracture: validity evidence using Rasch modeling

Nancy J Forget, Christina Jerosch-Herold, Lee Shepstone, Johanne Higgins

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Background Dupuytren’s contracture is a progressive, fibroproliferative disorder that causes fixed finger contractures and can lead to disability. With the advances of new therapeutic interventions, the necessity to assess the functional repercussions of this condition using valid, reliable and sensitive outcome measures is of growing interest. The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) is one frequently used patient-reported outcome measure but its reliability and validity have never been demonstrated specifically for a population affected with Dupuytren’s contracture. The objective of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the DASH, with focus on validity evidence using the Rasch measurement model. Methods Secondary analysis was performed on data collected as part of a randomised clinical trial. One hundred fifty-three participants diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture completed the DASH at four time points (pre-op, 3, 6 and 12 months post-op). Baseline data were analysed using traditional analysis and to test whether they adhered to the expectations of the Rasch model. Post-intervention data were subsequently included and analyzed to determine the effect of the intervention on the items. Results DASH scores demonstrated large ceiling effects at all time points. Initial fit to the Rasch model revealed that the DASH did not adhere to the expectations of the Rasch partial credit model (χ2 = 119.92; p < 0.05). Multiple items displayed inadequate response categories and two items displayed differential item functioning by gender. Items were transformed and one item deleted leading to an adequate fit. Remaining items fit the Rasch model but still do not target well the population under study. Conclusions The original version of the 30-item DASH did not display adequate validity evidence for use in a population with Dupuytren’s contracture. Further development is required to improve the DASH for this population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number361
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Early online date30 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2014

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