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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Evaluation of psychometric properties and differential item functioning of 8-item Child Perceptions Questionnaires using item response theory

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
David TW Yau, May CM Wong, KF Lam, Colman McGrath
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

DTWY carried out statistical analyses and KFL advised on statistical analysis. DTWY and MCMW developed the study methods, formulated research hypothesis and interpreted the results. CM conceived the research questions, response for data acquisition and advised on the discussion. DTWY drafted the manuscript. All the authors participated in the critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, and all approved the final version submitted for publication.



Four-factor structure of the two 8-item short forms of Child Perceptions Questionnaire CPQ11–14 (RSF:8 and ISF:8) has been confirmed. However, the sum scores are typically reported in practice as a proxy of Oral health-related Quality of Life (OHRQoL), which implied a unidimensional structure. This study first assessed the unidimensionality of 8-item short forms of CPQ11–14. Item response theory (IRT) was employed to offer an alternative and complementary approach of validation and to overcome the limitations of classical test theory assumptions.


A random sample of 649 12-year-old school children in Hong Kong was analyzed. Unidimensionality of the scale was tested by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), principle component analysis (PCA) and local dependency (LD) statistic. Graded response model was fitted to the data. Contribution of each item to the scale was assessed by item information function (IIF). Reliability of the scale was assessed by test information function (TIF). Differential item functioning (DIF) across gender was identified by Wald test and expected score functions.


Both CPQ11–14 RSF:8 and ISF:8 did not deviate much from the unidimensionality assumption. Results from CFA indicated acceptable fit of the one-factor model. PCA indicated that the first principle component explained >30 % of the total variation with high factor loadings for both RSF:8 and ISF:8. Almost all LD statistic <10 indicated the absence of local dependency. Flat and low IIFs were observed in the oral symptoms items suggesting little contribution of information to the scale and item removal caused little practical impact. Comparing the TIFs, RSF:8 showed slightly better information than ISF:8. In addition to oral symptoms items, the item “Concerned with what other people think” demonstrated a uniform DIF (p < 0.001). The expected score functions were not much different between boys and girls.


Items related to oral symptoms were not informative to OHRQoL and deletion of these items is suggested. The impact of DIF across gender on the overall score was minimal. CPQ11–14 RSF:8 performed slightly better than ISF:8 in measurement precision. The 6-item short forms suggested by IRT validation should be further investigated to ensure their robustness, responsiveness and discriminative performance.
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