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Third-party-funded project

Sensitivity and Responsiveness to Change of Patient Questionnaires in Rehabilitation (Project A-7)

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:



In rehabilitation research, self-report questionnaires are widely used for the assessment of treatment outcomes in evaluation studies. In these studies assessments are performed at various time points and outcomes are presented as differences between baseline and follow up measurements. Doing so implies, however, these questionaires being able to appropriately reflect changes over time, i.e. they have to be sensitive or responsive to change.


This projects aims at determining the sensitivity to change and responsiveness of the self-report questionnaires most widely used in rehabilitation research (SF-36, SF-12; IRES; SCL-90-R). The characteristics of these scales are compared with each other thus being able to make recommendations as to their use. The project has two stages: In the first stage, data from several research projects from the first funding period will be reanalysed. In the second stage, a prospective design for the state of the art examination of sensitivity and responsiveness to change will be carried out. Patients will be selected from both orthopaedic/rheumatological and cardiological rehabilitation clinics.


In the prospective part of the study, participants will be assessed at four time points: T0: 3 to 4 weeks before the beginning of inpatient rehabilitation, T1: at the beginning of inpatient rehabilitation, T2: at the end of inpatient rehabilitation, T3: after 3 months. This design allows for the standardisation of the differences between T1 and T2 or T1 and T3 by „noise“ changes between T0 and T1 where no intervention takes place. In each domain 470 patients will be recruited.

Expected results:

We expect to provide characteristics of sensitivity and responsiveness to change for the most widely used outcome questionnaires in German rehabilitation research. Thus, the selection of these measures can be based on scientific evidence to a higher degree.

Key words:
    sensitivity to change

Projekt period: from 01.2002 to 12.2004

Funding institution:
Bund ,Granting date: 11.03.2002