Measuring burden in caregivers of people with multiple sclerosis: psychometric properties of the CSI questionnaire
Garcia-Dominguez, Jose M.; Martinez-Gines, Maria L.; Carmona, Olga; Caminero, Ana B.; Prefasi, Daniel; Maurino, Jorge; Ballesteross, Javier; Ares, Adrian; Arnal, Carmen; Carcelen, Maria; Cannon, Olga; Eguia, Pablo; del Carmen Fernandez, Maria; Ginestal, Ricardo; Lacruz, Laura; Llaneza González, Miguel Ángel; Lopez de Silanes, Carlos; Martin, Gisela; Navarro, Laura; Romero, Beatriz; Seral, Maria; Solar, Myriam
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Patient Preference and Adherence
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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.