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Measuring burden in caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis: psychometric properties of the CSI questionnaire

Authors García-Domínguez JM, Martínez-Ginés ML, Carmona O, Caminero AB, Prefasi D, Maurino J, Ballesteros J

Received 24 July 2018

Accepted for publication 26 October 2018

Published 9 January 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 101—106


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Jose M García-Domínguez,1 María L Martínez-Ginés,1 Olga Carmona,2 Ana B Caminero,3 Daniel Prefasi,4 Jorge Maurino,4 Javier Ballesteros5

On behalf of the W-IMPACT Clinical Investigators

1Department of Neurology, Hospital Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain; 2Department of Neurology, Hospital de Figueres, Figueres, Spain; 3Department of Neurology, Hospital Nuestra Señora de Sonsoles, Complejo Asistencial de Ávila, Ávila, Spain; 4Medical Department, Roche Farma, Madrid, Spain; 5Department of Neurosciences and CIBERSAM, Universidad del País Vasco, Leioa, Spain

Background: Understanding caregiver strain may be crucial to determine which interventions are most needed to mitigate the negative impact of caring for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) is a brief self-assessment tool for measuring the caregivers’ perceived level of burden. Limited information is available on the psychometric performance of the CSI in MS.
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the factor structure and construct validity of the CSI in MS.
Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional study in adults with relapsing-remitting and primary-progressive MS (McDonald 2010 criteria) was conducted. A non-parametric item response theory (IRT) procedure, Mokken analysis, was conducted to assess the dimensional structure of the CSI. A parametric IRT model for dichotomous responses, Rasch model, was conducted to assess item characteristics. Discriminative validity was assessed comparing the distribution of its overall score between people with mild and moderate-severe disability according to the Expanded Disability Status Scale.
Results: A total of 72 MS caregivers were studied. The prevalence of a high level of strain was 23.6% (n=17). Internal reliability was high (Cronbach’s alpha =0.91). According to Mokken analysis, CSI represented a unidimensional construct of caregiver burden although two of the total 13 items (#1 and #13) could not be assigned to any factor by an automatic item selection procedure. Without these items, the scalability moved from a weak (Hi =0.37) to a medium scale (Hi =0.44). However, the item characteristic curve of the Rasch model showed a range of appropriate difficulty and the item and person parameters showed good fit (Andersen likelihood ratio test =18.40, df =11; P-value =0.07; all item values for the infit). The CSI score showed a good discriminative validity between the levels of disability of the care recipient.
Conclusion: The CSI questionnaire shows appropriate psychometric characteristics being a useful instrument to assess different aspects of burden in MS caregivers in clinical practice.

Keywords: caregivers, multiple sclerosis, psychometrics, caregiver burden, strain

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