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  • 1.
    Hagquist, Curt
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
    Andrich, David
    The University of Western Australia.
    Recent advances in analysis of differential item functioning in health research using the Rasch model2017In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, ISSN 1477-7525, E-ISSN 1477-7525, Vol. 15, p. 1-8, article id 181Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Rasch analysis with a focus on Differential Item Functioning (DIF) is increasingly used for examination of psychometric properties of health outcome measures. To take account of DIF in order to retain precision of measurement, split of DIF-items into separate sample specific items has become a frequently used technique. The purpose of the paper is to present and summarise recent advances of analysis of DIF in a unified methodology. In particular, the paper focuses on the use of analysis of variance (ANOVA) as a method to simultaneously detect uniform and non-uniform DIF, the need to distinguish between real and artificial DIF and the trade-off between reliability and validity. An illustrative example from health research is used to demonstrate how DIF, in this case between genders, can be identified, quantified and under specific circumstances accounted for using the Rasch model.

    Methods: Rasch analyses of DIF were conducted of a composite measure of psychosomatic problems using Swedish data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study for grade 9 students collected during the 1985–2014 time periods.

    Results: The procedures demonstrate how DIF can be identified efficiently by ANOVA of residuals, and how the magnitude of DIF can be quantified and potentially accounted for by resolving items according to identifiable groups and using principles of test equating on the resolved items. The results of the analysis also show that the real DIF in some items does affect person measurement estimates.

    Conclusions: Firstly, in order to distinguish between real and artificial DIF, the items showing DIF initially should not be resolved simultaneously but sequentially. Secondly, while resolving instead of deleting a DIF item may retain reliability, both options may affect the content validity negatively. Resolving items with DIF is not justified if the source of the DIF is relevant for the content of the variable; then resolving DIF may deteriorate the validity of the instrument. Generally, decisions on resolving items to deal with DIF should also rely on external information.

  • 2.
    Hagquist, Curt
    et al.
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Centre for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Health (from 2013).
    Due, Pernille
    Univ Southern Denmark, Natl Inst Publ Hlth, DK-1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark.
    Torsheim, Torbjorn
    University Bergen Norway.
    Valimaa, Raili
    Univ Jyvaskyla, Finland.
    Cross-country comparisons of trends in adolescent psychosomatic symptoms: a Rasch analysis of HBSC data from four Nordic countries2019In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, ISSN 1477-7525, E-ISSN 1477-7525, Vol. 17, article id 27Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    BackgroundTo analyse the psychometric properties of the HBSC Symptom Checklist (HBSC-SCL) on psychosomatic symptoms with a focus on the operating characteristics of the items, and on the impacts of measurement distortions on the comparisons of person measures across time and between countries.MethodsData were collected in 1993/94, 1997/98, 2001/02, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2013/14 in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as part of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. Data comprised 116,531 students 11, 13 and 15years old. Rasch analysis was conducted of the HBSC-SCL consisting of eight items with a focus on Differential Item Functioning (DIF) and item threshold ordering. The impacts of DIF and threshold disordering on trend analyses were analysed in a subsample consisting of 15years old students.ResultsOne item shows evidence of severe DIF and the categorisation of some items does not seem to work as intended. Analyses of changes based on proportions of psychosomatic symptoms show that bad item functioning affects some comparisons between countries across time: A four percentage point difference between 15years old girls in Finland and Sweden concerning the rate of increase of psychosomatic symptoms from 1994 to 2014 disappears when the problems with DIF and disordered item thresholds are taken into account. Although the proportions of students with psychosomatic symptoms are clearly higher 2014 than 1994 in all four countries the shape of most trends is nonlinear.ConclusionsSome of the cross-country comparisons were distorted because of DIF and problems related to disordering of the item thresholds. The comparisons among girls between Finland and Sweden were affected by the problems pertaining to the original measure of psychosomatic symptoms, while the trend patterns among boys were not much affected. In addition to confirming increasing rates of adolescent mental health problems in the Nordic countries, the substantive analyses in the current study show that Finland is joining Sweden in having the sharpest increase among older adolescents, in particular among girls.To improve the functioning of the scale the DIF item could be removed or replaced and response categories collapsed in post hoc analyses.

  • 3.
    Schnohr, Christina W.
    et al.
    Univ Copenhagen, Dept Publ Hlth, POB 2099, Copenhagen, Denmark..
    Gobina, Inese
    Riga Stradins Univ, Dept Publ Hlth & Epidemiol, Riga, Latvia..
    Santos, Teresa
    ISPA, William James Ctr Res, Lisbon, Portugal..
    Mazur, Joanna
    Inst Mother & Child Hlth, Kasprzaka 17a Str, Warsaw, Poland..
    Alikasifuglu, Mujgan
    Istanbul Univ, Cerrahpasa Med Fac, Dept Pediat, TR-34303 Istanbul, Turkey..
    Valimaa, Raili
    Univ Jyvaskyla, Dept Hlth Educ, Jyvaskyla, Finland..
    Corell, Maria
    Folkhalsomyndigheten, S-830140 Ostersund, Sweden..
    Hagquist, Curt
    Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Health Sciences.
    Dalmasso, Paola
    Univ Torino, Sch Med, Dept Publ Hlth & Paediat, Via Santena, I-10126 Turin, Italy..
    Movseyan, Yeva
    Arabkir Med Ctr Inst Child & Adolescent Hlth, Yerevan 0014, Armenia..
    Cavallo, Franco
    Univ Torino, Sch Med, Dept Publ Hlth & Paediat, Via Santena, I-10126 Turin, Italy..
    van Dorsselaer, Saskia
    POB 7253500, Utrecht, Netherlands..
    Torsheim, Torbjorn
    Unvers Bergen, Inst Samfunnspsykololgi, Kristie Bergiesgatan, Bergen, Norway..
    Semantics bias in cross-national comparative analyses: Is it good or bad to have "fair" health?2016In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, ISSN 1477-7525, E-ISSN 1477-7525, Vol. 14, article id 70Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Health Behavior in School-aged Children is a cross-national study collecting data on social and health indicators on adolescents in 43 countries. The study provides comparable data on health behaviors and health outcomes through the use of a common protocol, which have been a back bone of the study sine its initiation in 1983. Recent years, researchers within the study have noticed a questionable comparability on the widely used item on self-rated health. One of the four response categories to the item "Would you say your health is....?" showed particular variation, as the response category "Fair" varied from 20 % in Latvia and Moldova to 3-4 % in Bulgaria and Macedonia. A qualitative mini-survey of the back-translations showed that the response category "Fair" had a negative slant in 25 countries, a positive slant in 10 countries and was considered neutral in 9 countries. This finding indicates that there are what may be called semantic issues affecting comparability in international studies, since the same original word (in an English original) is interpreted differently across countries and cultures. The paper test and discuss a few possible explanations to this, however, only leaving to future studies to hold a cautious approach to international comparisons if working with the self-rated health item with four response categories.

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