Validation of questionnaires from several medical fields regarding the constitution of patients

Author: Hoffmann C//Rosenberger A//Troeger W//Stange R
Free University of Berlin, Department of Natural Medicine, Benjamin Franklin Hospital, Berlin, Germany
Conference/Journal: Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd
Date published: 2002
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 37-44 , Word Count: 249

INTRODUCTION: To consider or determine an individual's 'warm and cold' constitution is common part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Indian medicine (Ayurveda), anthroposophic medicine and classical natural medicine. OBJECTIVE: Common psychometric characteristics of 4 questionnaires should be examined. METHODS: 110 cancer patients and 110 non-cancer patients were asked to answer these questionnaires twice 4 weeks apart. Subsequent validation of the questionnaires included psychometrical qualities of item acceptability, sensitivity to change, construct validity (homogeneity), re-test reliability and group comparison. RESULTS: The Ayurveda questionnaire was considered suitable after reducing the questions from 22 to 8 (internal construct validity kappa = 0.64). The TCM questionnaire was considered unsuitable in our model because of the absence of construct validity. The questionnaire on anthroposophic medicine was considered a suitable and reliable tool with alpha = 0.57 (Cronbach's alpha) and r = 0.61 (re-test reliability) after reducing the questions from 6 to 4. The questionnaire on sensitivity to temperatures based on classical natural medicine was considered suitable after reducing the questions from 10 to 8 (alpha = 0.58; r = 0.73). Cancer and non-cancer patients differ in only one item, i.e. in their sensitivities to cold. CONCLUSION: The questionnaires for anthroposophic medicine, Ayurveda medicine and sensitivity to temperatures are in part suitable and reliable for determining individual constitutions according to their medical philosophy. The questionnaire based on traditional Chinese medicine failed these criteria. A difference between patients with or without malignant disease was only observed for sensitivity to temperatures. The anthroposophic hypothesis that cancer either changes an individual's thermic constitution or is caused by such a change could not be confirmed in this study.