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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research
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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Is a line the same as a box? Speech assessment by VAS is not superior to Likert scales in laryngeal cancer patients

Mia Johansson, Caterina Finizia, Alessio Degl Innocenti, Anna Ryden

Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(11): CR481-487

ID: 512899


Background:    The primary purpose was to assess if VAS or Likert was relatively more suitable when assessing self-ratings of voice and speech in patients treated for laryngeal cancer. An additional purpose was to investigate whether the scales differed in measuring change after treatment.
    Material/Methods:    Using both VAS and Likert, 71 patients answered three questions at baseline and 12 months after treatment began. For test-retest analyses, additional data were used from 21 subjects. Non-parametric statistical methods suitable for comparing scales with different numbers of response alternatives were applied.
    Results:    Test-retest reliability was strongest for the Likert scale. From baseline to follow-up, both scales detected significant improvements. However, for some Likert scores the associated VAS values varied across a wide range, and this was true for assessments at baseline, at follow-up, and for score changes. At baseline the inter-scale concordance showed a greater number of disordered pairs than at follow-up and on both occasions the older group produced a greater number of disordered pairs.
    Conclusions:    No support for the superiority of VAS over Likert was found. However, VAS may produce instability in response patterns. When using self-ratings of voice and speech to identify a need of further rehabilitation, Likert scales seem better suited.

This paper has been published under Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) allowing to download articles and share them with others as long as they credit the authors and the publisher, but without permission to change them in any way or use them commercially.
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