Validation of the Care-Related Quality of Life Instrument in different study settings: findings from The Older Persons and Informal Caregivers Survey Minimum DataSet (TOPICS-MDS)

J.E. Lutomski*, N.J.A. van Exel, G.I.J.M. Kempen, E.P. Moll van Charante, W.P.J. den Elzen, A.P.D. Jansen, P.F.M. Krabbe, B. Steunenberg, E.W. Steyerberg, M.G.M. Olde Rikkert, R.J.F. Melis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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, (, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1293
Number of pages13
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • CarerQol-7D
  • Caregivers
  • Quality of life
  • Geriatric health services
  • Visual analogue scale
  • BIAS

Cite this