Item response theory and health-related quality of life in cancer

Richard Gershon*, David Cella, Kelly Dineen, Sarah Rosenblom, Amy Peterman, Jin Shei Lai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Identifying health-related quality of life concerns is a priority when caring for people with cancer. Specific problem areas such as pain, fatigue, emotional distress, disease- and treatment-related symptoms, as well as physical functioning can be routinely assessed using applications that draw upon item response theory. Item response theory measurement models can improve on the classical approach to health-related quality of life assessment with advantages that include comparison of patients across diverse instruments, flexibility in degree of precision desired, availability of multiple short forms, interval measurement and capability for individual assessment (real-time clinical monitoring) using computerized adaptive testing. This review describes a model of health-related quality of life in oncology and the contribution of item response theory to assessment using that model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-791
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Assessment
  • Cancer computerized adaptive testing
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Item bank
  • Item response theory
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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