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Open Access Research article

Rasch analysis of the Psychiatric Out-Patient Experiences Questionnaire (POPEQ)

Rolf V Olsen12*, Andrew M Garratt1, Hilde H Iversen1 and Oyvind A Bjertnaes1

Author Affiliations

1 Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services, Boks 7004, St. Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway

2 Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo, Norway

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:282  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-282

Published: 28 September 2010



The Psychiatric Out-Patient Experiences Questionnaire (POPEQ) is an 11-item core measure of psychiatric out-patients experiences of the perceived outcome of the treatment, the quality of interaction with the clinician, and the quality of information provision. The POPEQ was found to have evidence for reliability and validity following the application of classical test theory but has not previously been assessed by Rasch analysis.


Two national postal surveys of psychiatric outpatients took place in Norway in 2004 and 2007. The performance of the POPEQ, including item functioning and differential item functioning, was assessed by Rasch analysis. Principal component analysis of item residuals was used to assess the presence of subdimensions.


6,677 (43.3%) and 11,085 (35.2%) psychiatric out patients responded to the questionnaire in 2004 and 2007, respectively. All items in the scale were retained after the Rasch analysis. The resulting scale had reasonably good fit to the Rasch model. The items performed the same for the two survey years and there was no differential item functioning relating to patient characteristics. Principal component analysis of the residuals confirmed that the measure to a high degree is unidimensional. However, the data also reflects three potential subscales, each relating to one of the three included aspects of health care.


The POPEQ had excellent psychometric properties and Rasch analysis further supported the construct validity of the scale by also identifying the three subdimensions originally included as components in the instrument development. The 11-item instrument is recommended in future research on psychiatric out-patient experiences. Future development may lead to the construction of more precise measures of the three subdomains that the POPEQ is based on.