Diagnosing the GOSE: Structural and Psychometric Properties Using Item Response Theory, a TRACK-TBI Pilot Study

TRACK-TBI Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOSE) was designed to assess global outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since its introduction, several empirically founded criticisms of the GOSE have been raised, including poor reliability; an insensitivity to small, but potentially meaningful, changes; a tendency to produce ceiling effects; inconsistent associations with neurocognitive, psychological, and quality-of-life measures; and an inability to assess the multi-dimensional nature of TBI outcome. The current project took a diagnostic approach to identifying the underlying causes of reported limitations by exploring the internal construct validity of the GOSE at 3 and 6 months post-injury using item response theory (IRT) techniques. Data were from the TRACK-TBI Pilot Study, a large (N = 586), prospective, multi-site project that included TBI cases of all injury severity levels. To assess the level of latent functional "impairment" captured by GOSE items independent of the assigned outcome category or GOSE total score, items were modified so that higher scores reflected greater impairment. Results showed that although the GOSE's items capture varying levels of impairment across a broad disability spectrum at 3 and 6 months, there was also evidence at each time point of item redundancy (multiple items capturing similar levels of impairment), item deficiency (lack of items capturing lower levels of impairment), and item inefficiency (items only capturing minimal impairment information). The findings illustrate the value of IRT to illuminate strengths and weaknesses of clinical outcome assessment measures and provide a framework for future measure refinement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2493-2505
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended
  • item response theory
  • outcome assessment
  • psychometrics
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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