Purpose: Validity is a contextual aspect of a scale which may differ across sample populations and study protocols. The objective of our study was to validate the Care-Related Quality of Life Instrument (CarerQol) across two different study design features, sampling framework (general population vs. different care settings) and survey mode (interview vs. written questionnaire).
Methods: Data were extracted from The Older Persons and Informal Caregivers Minimum DataSet (TOPICS-MDS, (www.topics-mds.eu), a pooled public-access data set with information on > 3,000 informal caregivers throughout the Netherlands. Meta-correlations and linear mixed models between the CarerQol's seven dimensions (CarerQol-7D) and caregiver's level of happiness (CarerQol-VAS) and self-rated burden (SRB) were performed.
Results: The CarerQol-7D dimensions were correlated to the CarerQol-VAS and SRB in the pooled data set and the subgroups. The strength of correlations between CarerQol-7D dimensions and SRB was weaker among caregivers who were interviewed versus those who completed a written questionnaire. The directionality of associations between the CarerQol-VAS, SRB and the CarerQol-7D dimensions in the multivariate model supported the construct validity of the CarerQol in the pooled population. Significant interaction terms were observed in several dimensions of the CarerQol-7D across sampling frame and survey mode, suggesting meaningful differences in reporting levels.
Conclusions: Although good scientific practice emphasises the importance of re-evaluating instrument properties in individual research studies, our findings support the validity and applicability of the CarerQol instrument in a variety of settings. Due to minor differential reporting, pooling CarerQol data collected using mixed administration modes should be interpreted with caution; for TOPICS-MDS, meta-analytic techniques may be warranted.
- Quality of life
- Geriatric health services
- Visual analogue scale