Development of the Alcohol Quality of Life Scale (AQoLS): A new patient-reported outcome measure to assess health-related quality of life in alcohol use disorder
The development of patient-centred approaches and of reduction in consumption strategies in alcohol use disorder requires giving a larger place to qualitative assessments that are closer to patients' concerns and more clinically relevant than drinking outcomes and generic health-related quality of life instrument. Our purpose was to develop from patients input the Alcohol Quality of Life Scale (AQoLS), a disease-specific measure for alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Concept elicitation focus groups were conducted with AUD patients in the UK and France. Thematic analysis was used to identify key areas of impact of AUD, and draft items were developed to capture these issues. The draft items underwent expert review to ensure clinical and cross-cultural applicability. Two iterative rounds of cognitive debriefing interviews were conducted with AUD patients in both countries, to assess face and content validity.
From focus groups conducted with 38 AUD patients, seven areas of impact emerged, forming the basis for the AQoLS: relationships, activities, looking after self, emotional impact, control, living conditions, and sleep. An initial pool of 90 items was reduced to 50 following the review process. In cognitive interviews, the measure took less than 10 min to complete, and patients reported that items were relevant to their experience. Following Round 1 interviews (n = 16), 14 items were removed because patients felt they were unclear or uneasy to respond to, 2 were combined, 7 were revised, and 4 new items were added. The recall period of 2 weeks was changed to 4 weeks, based on patient comments. Following Round 2 interviews (n = 15), 5 items were removed and 3 were modified to produce the 34-item AQoLS.
As the only de novo measure of health-related quality of life developed specifically for AUD, the AQoLS offers the potential of increased sensitivity to show the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions from the patient's perspective.