Quality of Life Research

, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 2239–2255 | Cite as

Systematic content evaluation and review of measurement properties of questionnaires for measuring self-reported fatigue among older people

  • Thorlene Egerton
  • Ingrid I. Riphagen
  • Arnhild J. Nygård
  • Pernille Thingstad
  • Jorunn L. Helbostad



The assessment of fatigue in older people requires simple and user-friendly questionnaires that capture the phenomenon, yet are free from items indistinguishable from other disorders and experiences. This study aimed to evaluate the content, and systematically review and rate the measurement properties of self-report questionnaires for measuring fatigue, in order to identify the most suitable questionnaires for older people.


This study firstly involved identification of questionnaires that purport to measure self-reported fatigue, and evaluation of the content using a rating scale developed for the purpose from contemporary understanding of the construct. Secondly, for the questionnaires that had acceptable content, we identified studies reporting measurement properties and rated the methodological quality of those studies according to the COSMIN system. Finally, we extracted and synthesised the results of the studies to give an overall rating for each questionnaire for each measurement property. The protocol was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42013005589).


Of the 77 identified questionnaires, twelve were selected for review after content evaluation. Methodological quality varied, and there was a lack of information on measurement error and responsiveness.


The PROMIS-Fatigue item bank and short forms perform the best. The FACIT-Fatigue scale, Parkinsons Fatigue Scale, Perform Questionnaire, and Uni-dimensional Fatigue Impact Scale also perform well and can be recommended. Minor modifications to improve performance are suggested. Further evaluation of unresolved measurement properties, particularly with samples including older people, is needed for all the recommended questionnaires.


Review Patient-reported outcome Fatigue Measurement properties Older people 



TE’s post‐doctoral position was funded by the Norwegian Women’s Health Association and the Norwegian Extra Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation through EXTRA funds.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

This article only contains data from previously published studies. No patient data were collected since it is a systematic review. It does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11136_2015_963_MOESM1_ESM.docx (627 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 626 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thorlene Egerton
    • 1
  • Ingrid I. Riphagen
    • 2
  • Arnhild J. Nygård
    • 1
  • Pernille Thingstad
    • 1
  • Jorunn L. Helbostad
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of MedicineNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Unit for Applied Clinical Research, Faculty of MedicineNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Clinical ServicesSt. Olavs HospitalTrondheimNorway

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