- Top of page
- Materials and methods
- Construct definition
- Item generation and refinement
- External panel.
- Internal panel.
- Patient focus group.
- Validation study methods
- Statistical analysis
- Final item selection
- Proposed use for the VSI
Background : Anxiety related to gastrointestinal sensations, symptoms or the contexts in which these may occur is thought to play a significant role in the pathophysiology as well as in the health outcomes of patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Aim : To develop a valid and reliable psychometric instrument that measures gastrointestinal symptom-specific anxiety.
Methods : External and internal expert panels as well as a patient focus group evaluated a large pool of potential item stems gathered from the psychological and gastrointestinal literature. Potential scale items were then administered to 96 patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome along with a set of validating questionnaires. Final item selection was based upon rigorous empirical criteria and the psychometric properties of the final scale were examined.
Results : A final unidimensional 15-item scale, the Visceral Sensitivity Index, demonstrated excellent reliability as well as good content, convergent, divergent and predictive validity.
Conclusions : The findings suggest that the Visceral Sensitivity Index is a reliable, valid measure of gastrointestinal symptom-specific anxiety that may be useful for clinical assessment, treatment outcome studies, and mechanistic studies of the role of symptom-related anxiety in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.