This research was designed to develop a nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) scale based on quality of life (QOL) instruments for cancer patients (QLICP-NA). This scale was developed by using a modular approach and was evaluated by classical test and generalizability theories.
Programmed decision procedures and theories on instrument development were applied to create QLICP-NA V2.0. A total of 121 NPC inpatients were assessed using QLICP-NA V2.0 to measure their QOL data from hospital admission until discharge. Scale validity, reliability, and responsiveness were evaluated by correlation, factor, parallel, multi-trait scaling, and t test analyses, as well as by generalizability (G) and decision (D) studies of the generalizability theory.
Results of multi-trait scaling, correlation, factor, and parallel analyses indicated that QLICP-NA V2.0 exhibited good construct validity. The significant difference of QOL between the treated and untreated NPC patients indicated a good clinical validity of the questionnaire. The internal consistency (α) and test–retest reliability coefficients (intra-class correlations) of each domain, as well as the overall scale, were all >0.70. Ceiling effects were not found in all domains and most facets, except for common side effects (24.8 %) in the domain of common symptoms and side effects, tumor early symptoms (27.3 %) and therapeutic side effects (23.2 %) in specific domain, whereas floor effects did not exist in each domain/facet. The overall changes in the physical and social domains were significantly different between pre- and post-treatments with a moderate effective size (standard response mean) ranging from 0.21 to 0.27 (p < 0.05), but these changes were not obvious in the other domains, as well as in the overall scale. Scale reliability was further confirmed by G coefficients and index of dependability, with more exact variance components based on generalizability theory.
QLICP-NA V2.0 exhibited reasonable degrees of validity, reliability, and responsiveness. However, this scale must be further improved before it can be used as a practical instrument to evaluate the QOL of NPC patients in China.