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01-03-2015 | Response Shift and Missing Data | Uitgave 3/2015

Quality of Life Research 3/2015

RespOnse Shift ALgorithm in Item response theory (ROSALI) for response shift detection with missing data in longitudinal patient-reported outcome studies

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 3/2015
Alice Guilleux, Myriam Blanchin, Antoine Vanier, Francis Guillemin, Bruno Falissard, Carolyn E. Schwartz, Jean-Benoit Hardouin, Véronique Sébille



Some IRT models have the advantage of being robust to missing data and thus can be used with complete data as well as different patterns of missing data (informative or not). The purpose of this paper was to develop an algorithm for response shift (RS) detection using IRT models allowing for non-uniform and uniform recalibration, reprioritization RS recognition and true change estimation with these forms of RS taken into consideration if appropriate.


The algorithm is described, and its implementation is shown and compared to Oort’s structural equation modeling (SEM) procedure using data from a clinical study assessing health-related quality of life in 669 hospitalized patients with chronic conditions.


The results were quite different for the two methods. Both showed that some items of the SF-36 General Health subscale were affected by response shift, but those items usually differed between IRT and SEM. The IRT algorithm found evidence of small recalibration and reprioritization effects, whereas SEM mostly found evidence of small recalibration effects.


An algorithm has been developed for response shift analyses using IRT models and allows the investigation of non-uniform and uniform recalibration as well as reprioritization. Differences in RS detection between IRT and SEM may be due to differences between the two methods in handling missing data. However, one cannot conclude on the differences between IRT and SEM based on a single application on a dataset since the underlying truth is unknown. A next step would be to implement a simulation study to investigate those differences.

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