Rasch analysis to evaluate the motor function measure for patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

K. Mul*, C.G.C. Horlings, C.G. Faber, B.G.M. van Engelen, I.S.J. Merkies

*Corresponding author for this work

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Patient-relevant outcome measures for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) are needed. The motor function measure (MFM) is an ordinal-based outcome measure for neuromuscular disorders, but its suitability to measure FSHD patients is questionable. Here, we performed Rasch analyses on MFM data from 194 FSHD patients to assess clinimetric properties in this patient group. Both the total scale and its three domains were analyzed (D1: standing position and transfers; D2: axial and proximal motor function; D3: distal motor function). Fit to the Rasch model, sample-item targeting, individual item fit, threshold ordering, sex- and age-based differential item functioning, response dependency and unidimensionality were assessed. Rasch analysis revealed multiple limitations of the MFM for FSHD, the most important being a large ceiling effect and suboptimal sample-item targeting, which were most pronounced for domains D2 and D3. There were disordered thresholds for most items, often resulting in items functioning in a dichotomous fashion. It was not possible to remodel the MFM into a Rasch-built interval scale. Remodeling of domain D1 into an interval scale with adequate fit statistics was achieved, but sample-item targeting remained suboptimal. Therefore, the MFM should be used with caution in FSHD patients, as it is not optimally suited to measure functional abilities in this patient group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • Rasch analysis
  • facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
  • motor function measure
  • outcome measures


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