A Rasch and factor analysis of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G)

Adam B Smith, Penny Wright, Peter J Selby, Galina Velikova
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2007 April 20, 5: 19

BACKGROUND: Although the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy--General questionnaire (FACT-G) has been validated few studies have explored the factor structure of the instrument, in particular using non-sample dependent measurement techniques, such as Rasch Models. Furthermore, few studies have explored the relationship between item fit to the Rasch Model and clinical utility. The aim of this study was to investigate the dimensionality and measurement properties of the FACT-G with Rasch Models and Factor analysis.

METHODS: A factor analysis and Rasch analysis (Partial Credit Model) was carried out on the FACT-G completed by a heterogeneous sample of cancer patients (n = 465). For the Rasch analysis item fit (infit mean squares > or = 1.30), dimensionality and item invariance were assessed. The impact of removing misfitting items on the clinical utility of the subscales and FACT-G total scale was also assessed.

RESULTS: The factor analysis demonstrated a four factor structure of the FACT-G which broadly corresponded to the four subscales of the instrument. Internal consistency for these four scales was very good (Cronbach's alpha 0.72 - 0.85). The Rasch analysis demonstrated that each of the subscales and the FACT-G total scale had misfitting items (infit means square > or = 1.30). All these scales with the exception of the Social & Family Well-being Scale (SFWB) were unidimensional. When misfitting items were removed, the effect sizes and the clinical utility of the instrument were maintained for the subscales and the total FACT-G scores.

CONCLUSION: The results of the traditional factor analysis and Rasch analysis of the FACT-G broadly agreed. Caution should be exercised when utilising the Social & Family Well-being scale and further work is required to determine whether this scale is best represented by two factors. Additionally, removing misfitting items from scales should be performed alongside an assessment of the impact on clinical utility.

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