Psychometrics and Clinimetrics in Assessing Environments: A Comment Suggested by Mackenzie et Al., 2002 / Replies

By Dijkers, Marcel P. J. M.; Diamond, James J. et al. | Journal of Allied Health, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Psychometrics and Clinimetrics in Assessing Environments: A Comment Suggested by Mackenzie et Al., 2002 / Replies


Dijkers, Marcel P. J. M., Diamond, James J., Marion, Rodger, Journal of Allied Health


Psychometrics is the name commonly used for the principles and methods of developing valid and reliable measures of intelligence, attitudes, skills, and other characteristics. One focus of psychometrics is the homogeneity of the items selected to measure the (unidimensional) latent construct of interest. Clinical scientists often use operationalizations of constructs that incorporate multiple dimensions, which may be quantified using only a single indicator. The difference between the two approaches is significant enough that Feinstein proposed a new science, clinimetrics. Homogeneity of items is of limited importance in clinimetrics, and construct indicators may be "causal" rather than "effectual." In measuring environments of individuals, the clinimetric approach seems more appropriate than the psychometric one. An article by Mackenzie et al. (J Allied Health 2002; 31:222-228) is used to show how adhering to psychometric models may suggest analytical procedures that are misleading. Some principles of the clinimetric method are set forth. J Allied Health. 2003; 32:38-45.

THE SCIENCE OF PROPERLY quantifying constructs such as intelligence, attitudes, and other "unobservables" (latent traits) of interest to psychologists is psychometrics, and getting a degree in psychology or the social and behavioral sciences is impossible without exposure to the concepts of reliability, predictive and construct validity, and many other issues related to consistent and trustworthy measurement of whatever traits researchers and practitioners need to determine quantitatively. A crucial aspect of the reliability of instruments is internal consistency: Homogeneity of the items used to measure a latent trait is a necessary condition for reliability because all items supposedly tap the same construct and are correlated with one another. Similarly, assessment of certain aspects of validity is based on interitem correlations. The construct validity of a multidimensional scale may be assessed on the basis of the relatively strong correlations between items that tap the same dimension and weak correlations between items that represent different dimensions. "Classic test theory" has developed many techniques and formulas, such as Cronbach's ot, Kuder-Richardson, and Spearman-Brown, which make it possible to express the qualities of an instrument or test quantitatively, and many of these are available in common statistical computing packages.

The power of the psychometric techniques developed as part of classic test theory sometimes is seductive, and the instrumentarium (e.g., multitrait multimethod matrix, coefficient or) has been applied to entities that do not satisfy the assumptions underlying psychometrics. Take for instance the measurement of environments. For many years, occupational therapists and others working with or researching the elderly have attempted to assess the hazards persons with physical or cognitive deficits face in daily life in their homes, with the ultimate purpose of predicting and preventing falls and other injuries. Most of them have taken a familiar road to quantification: develop a bank of items that each constitutes a risk (e.g., loose rugs, dangling power cords, lack of grab bars), assign points for presence or absence, and add up to obtain a residence hazard score.1-3 Some, heeding their instruction in psychometrics, have calculated interrater reliability to establish that presence or absence of dangerous aspects of the residence can be determined consistently and objectively.1,4-6 A few have calculated interitem correlations or coefficient alpha to establish that their items are tapping the construct "riskiness."2,7,8

It is difficult, however, to make a claim that there is a latent construct riskiness that characterizes houses, and that drives them to exhibit consistently absence or presence of dangers to their inhabitants. There is no a priori reason why the presence of grab bars is correlated with the presence of safety strips on the stairs or why the absence of multiple extension cords plugged into one another is correlated with clutter in the walkways. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Psychometrics and Clinimetrics in Assessing Environments: A Comment Suggested by Mackenzie et Al., 2002 / Replies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.