Developing a reliable measure of the impact of pelvic pain: the pelvic pain impact questionnaire (PPIQ)

Jane Chalmers, Mark J. Catley, Susan F. Evans, G. Lorimer Moseley

Introduction: While objective tests are used by clinicians to measure the progress of pain patients, often the results of these tests are not important to the patient. Patients generally recognise their progress according to the impact that their pain condition has on their life at a given point in time. The Pelvic Pain Impact Questionnaire (PPIQ) is a tool used to assess the impact of pelvic pain on the lives of women with any kind of pelvic pain. The tool was initiated and facilitated by a researcher form the University of South Australia, but was developed through input from women suffering from pelvic pain.  The women were asked ‘what does your pelvic pain impact?’ on three separate occasions, and their responses were used in an e-Delphi model to develop the PPIQ. Responses came from a diverse cohort of women. While the diversity of the cohort assists in generalising the use of the PPIQ, it is important to assess the function of the questionnaire in sub-populations under the umbrella of ‘pelvic pain’ to ensure it can be used effectively in all pelvic pain diagnostic groups. A Rasch analysis provides a method of assessing the function of the PPIQ across different pelvic pain groups, and also the function of the individual questions within the PPIQ.

Aim: To (1) assess the scale properties of the PPIQ using Rasch Analysis and (2) determine whether pelvic pain diagnosis/diagnoses biases the function of the PPIQ.

Design: Observational cross-sectional study.

Participants and setting: Women suffering from pelvic pain will be invited to complete the PPIQ online at one single time point. These women will be recruited from practitioners and social media advertisements.

Methods: Participants will be asked to provide basic demographic information including age, menopause status, pelvic pain diagnosis/diagnoses, and the length of their pelvic pain. They will then complete the PPIQ.

Analysis:  A Rasch analysis will be undertaken to determine the function of item parameters. This analysis will be done with participants divided into their separate diagnostic groups in order to assess the function of the groups.

Discussion and significance: Rasch analysis will determine whether the PPIQ can be validly summed to provide a measure of the impact of pelvic pain on the lives of women with pelvic pain. Importantly, the analysis will examine whether the questionnaire functions well for different sub-groups of pelvic pain diagnoses. The ability to record responses in this manner is important for efficient use of the tool in the clinical setting.