Investigating gender-based differential item functioning on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ) using qualitative content analysis

Theresa M. Coles, Nicole Lucas, Molly McFatrich, Debra Henke, Jennifer L. Ridgeway, Emma M. Behnken, Kevin Weinfurt, Bryce B. Reeve, Amy Corneli, Shannon M. Dunlay, John A. Spertus, Li Lin, Ileana L. Piña, Fraser D. Bocell, Michelle E. Tarver, Heidi Dohse, Anindita Saha, Brittany Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate potential gender-based differences in interpreting the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ-23) and to explore if there are aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) not captured by the KCCQ-23 that are important to assess in men and/or women with heart failure (HF). Methods: Patients ≥ 22 years of age with clinician-diagnosed HF and left ventricular ejection fraction ≤ 40% were recruited from two academic medical centers to participate in semi-structured concept elicitation and cognitive debriefing interviews. Enrollment was stratified by patient-identified gender (half women/half men). All interviews were conducted over the phone/web and audio recorded. Interviews were transcribed and descriptive qualitative content analysis was used to summarize findings overall and by gender. Results: Twenty-five adults (56% women) diagnosed with HF participated. The average age was 67 years (range: 25–88). Women attributed a wider variety of symptoms to HF than men. Some participants had difficulty differentiating whether their experiences were due to HF, side effects of their medications, or age. We found very little evidence that participants interpreted KCCQ-23 items differently based on gender. Conclusions: Overall, our findings indicate that interpretation of the KCCQ-23 items were similar in men and women. However, some modifications to items may improve clarity of interpretation for a wide range of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-852
Number of pages12
JournalQuality of Life Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Differential item functioning
  • Heart failure
  • Patient-reported outcomes
  • Qualitative
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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