The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have set national standards
for measuring patient-reported health outcomes such as pain, fatigue and
depression with their Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information
System (PROMIS). When PROMIS validated its assessment tools, it used a
7-day recall format to ask respondents about their health status.
Several researchers have identified the advantages of using a 1-day
recall format, pointing out the daily dairies yield information that is
more accurate and sensitive to daily fluctuations. But before results
obtained with daily diaries can be compared with nationally established
norms, the psychometric characteristics of the daily recall method need
to be established. In an article published in the journal Quality of Life Research, Stefan Schneider PhD and colleagues took a major step in that direction.
Funded by a grant from the NIH, Dr. Schneider and associates administered daily diary versions of three PROMIS measures (pain interference, fatigue and depression) to 100 healthy volunteers over a period of 28 days. Using the same statistical models as PROMIS they demonstrated that the daily recall method “captures comparable constructs with comparable metrics.”
Howerver, the daily recall method yielded lower mean
symptom ratings than the 7-day recall period, perhaps because people
tend to be more influenced by peak symptoms when using longer recall
methods. Therefore, the national norms established by PROMIS are no
longer valid when the recall period is modified from a 7-day recall to a
daily diary version. The authors also noted that day to day
fluctuations in reports of depression may involve a secondary factor,
other than depression, reflecting transient changes in mood.
Dr. Schneider is Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University. The paper, which is titled Psychometric characteristics of daily diaries for Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement System (PROMIS): a preliminary investigation, was co-authored by Seung Choi PhD from Northwestern University and Doerte Junghaenel PhD, Joseph Schwartz PhD, and Arthur Stone PhD, all from Stony Brook University.