The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) is a widely used health-related quality of life measure. However, little research has been conducted on its dimensionality. The objectives of the current study were to apply Rasch analysis to DLQI data to determine whether the scale is unidimensional, to assess its measurement properties, test the response format, and determine whether the measure exhibits differential item functioning (DIF) by disease (atopic dermatitis versus psoriasis), gender, or age group. The results show that there were several problems with the scale, including misfitting items, DIF by disease, age, and gender, disordered response thresholds, and inadequate measurement of patients with mild illness. As the DLQI did not benefit from the application of Rasch analysis in its development, it is argued that a new measure of disability related to dermatological disease is required. Such a measure should use a coherent measurement model and ensure that items are relevant to all potential respondents. The current use of the DLQI as a guide to treatment selection is of concern, given its inadequate measurement properties.
Can we rely on the Dermatology Life Quality Index as a measure of the impact of psoriasis or atopic dermatitis?