Purpose: Black dialysis patients report better health-related quality of life (HRQOL) than White patients, which may be explained if Black and White patients respond systematically differently to HRQOL survey items. Methods: We examined differential item functioning (DIF) of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life 36-item (KDQOL TM -36) Burden of Kidney Disease, Symptoms and Problems with Kidney Disease, and Effects of Kidney Disease scales between Black (n = 18,404) and White (n = 21,439) dialysis patients. We fit multiple group confirmatory factor analysis models with increasing invariance: a Configural model (invariant factor structure), a Metric model (invariant factor loadings), and a Scalar model (invariant intercepts). Criteria for invariance included non-significant χ 2 tests, > 0.002 difference in the models’ CFI, and > 0.015 difference in RMSEA and SRMR. Next, starting with a fully invariant model, we freed loadings and intercepts item-by-item to determine if DIF impacted estimated KDQOL TM -36 scale means. Results: ΔCFI was 0.006 between the metric and scalar models but was reduced to 0.001 when we freed intercepts for the burdens and symptoms and problems of kidney disease scales. In comparison to standardized means of 0 in the White group, those for the Black group on the Burdens, Symptoms and Problems, and Effects of Kidney Disease scales were 0.218, 0.061, and 0.161, respectively. When loadings and thresholds were released sequentially, differences in means between models ranged between 0.001 and 0.048. Conclusion: Despite some DIF, impacts on KDQOL TM -36 responses appear to be minimal. We conclude that the KDQOL TM -36 is appropriate to make substantive comparisons of HRQOL between Black and White dialysis patients.
- Differential item functioning
- Health-related quality of life
- Measurement invariance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health