Relative utility of a visual analogue scale vs a six-point Likert scale in the measurement of global subject outcome in patients with low back pain receiving physiotherapy

Harland, Nick, Dawkin, Mathew and Martin, Denis (2014) Relative utility of a visual analogue scale vs a six-point Likert scale in the measurement of global subject outcome in patients with low back pain receiving physiotherapy. Physiotherapy. ISSN 0031-9406

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Abstract

Background
Patients’ subjective impression of change is an important construct to measure following physiotherapy, but little evidence exists about the best type of measure to use.

Objective
To compare the construct validity and utility of two forms of a global subjective outcome scale (GSOS) in patients with back pain: Likert and visual analogue scale (VAS) GSOS.

Design
Two samples of patients attending physiotherapy for back pain completed a questionnaire battery at discharge from physiotherapy including either a Likert or VAS GSOS.

Participants
One hundred and eighty-seven {79 males, mean age 52.1 [standard deviation (SD) 15.5] years} patients completed the Likert GSOS and a separate sample of 144 patients [62 males, mean age 55.7 (SD 15.9) years] completed the VAS GSOS upon discharge from physiotherapy.
Main comparisons
The two versions of the GSOS were compared using pre- and post-treatment changes in scores using a VAS (pain), Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire (18-item version) and catastrophising subscale of the Coping Strategies Questionnaire 24.

Results
Both versions of the GSOS showed significant ( P < 0.01) moderate correlations ( r between 0.30 and 0.46) with changes in pain and disability. The correlations between the two types of GSOS and changes in catastrophising were trivial and not significant (Likert GSOS: r = 0.07, P = 0.372; VAS GSOS: r = 0.10, P = 0.267). There were fewer missing values in the Likert GSOS (1%) compared with the VAS GSOS (8%).

Conclusions
The two versions of the GSOS showed similar validity; however, use of the Likert GSOS is recommended because of its greater utility.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Sciences > Health Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing > School of Nursing and Health Sciences
Depositing User: Nick Harland
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2020 15:43
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2020 15:43
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/12387
ORCID for Nick Harland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3402-3457

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