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Short form development for oral health patient-reported outcome evaluation in children and adolescents.



Children and adolescents are vulnerable to dental problems and oral diseases. This paper presents the development of two multi-item self-report scales for use in assessing oral health status of children and adolescents.


Following the Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System framework, survey questions were designed using a newly developed conceptual model. These items were administered to 334 children and adolescents (8-17 years) along with concurrent dental exams. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted and the item response theory graded response model was used to estimate item parameters and oral health status scores and to identify short-form items. The items were selected by high level of information and wide coverage of different domains to assess Child Oral Health Status Index (COHSI) and treatment referral recommendations (RR).


The long form consists of 28 items. The short-form includes 12 items (8 for COHSI and 7 for RR with 3 common items).The intra-class correlations between long form and short-form were 0.90 for COHSI and 0.87 for RR.


The short-forms provide a possible solution for the longstanding challenge of oral health evaluation for large populations of children and adolescents. The calibrated long form provides the foundation for computer adaptive test administration. These oral health assessment toolkits can be used for oral health screening, surveillance program, policy planning, and research.

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