Test‐Retest Reliability of a Questionnaire That Identifies Elders at Risk for Hospital Admission

Lisa Boult, Chad Boult, Phyllis Pirie, James T. Pacala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine the test‐retest reliability of a questionnaire designed to measure elderly persons' probability of repeated admission (Pra) to a hospital within 4 years. DESIGN: Participants received the test questionnaire by mail; respondents to the test questionnaire received the retest questionnaire 3 weeks later. PARTICIPANTS: Elderly (65+) community‐dwelling enrollees in the Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program of Ramsey County, MN (n = 192). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The correlation (r) between the Pra values computed from the test‐retest correlations (k) of the questionnaire's individual items were also measured. RESULTS: The response rate was 63% (121/192) for the test questionnaire and 69% (84/121) for the retest questionnaire. The test and retest values of Pra computed from responses to the questionnaires were highly correlated (r = 0.78, P < 0.0001). For the individual questionnaire items, the range of k values was 0.50–1.00 (P < 0.0001 for all items). Slightly higher values of r and k were obtained when the respondents were women and when the same person (either proxy or self) completed both questionnaires. Age was not consistently related to reliability. CONCLUSION: the test‐retest reliability of individual items and of the computed Pra was high, suggesting that responses by elderly persons to mailed questionnaires pertaining to health status are stable over brief periods of time. The resulting Pra values may be useful in identifying elders at high risk for hospital admission. 1994 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-711
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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