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Psychometrically Relevant Differences between Source and Migrant Populations


Patrick Brzoska

Psychometrically relevant population differences may limit the transferability of research instruments between migrants and their source population and may contribute to a low performance of quantitative questionnaires. Based on a review of existing taxonomies, this book develops a comprehensive analytical framework of equivalence that can serve multiple purposes. It allows to examine psychometrically relevant population differences, it can assist in the re-adaptation of questionnaires and it is a valuable tool for cross-group comparative research. The application of the framework is illustrated through the examination of equivalence of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) between chronically ill Turks residing in Turkey and Turkish migrants residing in Germany.
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1. Introduction


Self- and interviewer-administered self-report questionnaires are important data collection tools in public health and other disciplines which apply quantitative research methods (Laake et al. 2007). Self-report questionnaires are of particular relevance for the assessment of variables that are not directly observable such as beliefs, attitudes, values and personality traits. For the assessment of these so-called latent variables usually questionnaires with multi-item scales are used where an underlying measurement model defines the relationship between observed measures (indicators) and unobserved, theoretical latent dimensions (factors) (Raykov & Marcoulides 2011; Nunnally & Bernstein 1994). A large body of literature and guidelines exist that elaborate on how these questionnaires should be applied and adapted to different research settings in order to facilitate the gathering of high quality data (e.g., Marsden & Wright 2010; Groves et al. 2009; Saris & Gallhofer 2007; Bradburn et al. 2004). In research on migrants and ethnic minorities, the need for a proper adaptation of questionnaires to different languages and cultures, however, is not always considered (Hanna et al. 2008). This is particularly true for public health, including epidemiological, research where many translations and adaptations of questionnaires ignore possible differences between populations in terms of psychological constructs, response behavior and item interpretation. As Hunt & Bhopal (2004) point out, this field of research is often based on the implicit but untested assumption that questionnaires are transferable across different population groups. If researchers working on the health of migrants consider the aspect of questionnaire adaptation at all, they usually adopt...

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