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Open Access Research

Rasch analysis of the Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (mini-MAC) among a heterogeneous sample of long-term cancer survivors: A cross-sectional study

Alison Zucca12*, Sylvie D Lambert3, Allison W Boyes12 and Julie F Pallant4

Author Affiliations

1 Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour, School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

2 Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour School of Medicine & Public Health, University of Newcastle, Room 230A, Level 2, David Maddison Building, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia

3 Translational Cancer Research Unit, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School The University of New South Wales, Liverpool, Australia

4 Rural Health Academic Centre, University of Melbourne, 49 Graham St, Shepparton, VIC, 3630, Australia

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10:55  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-55

Published: 20 May 2012

Abstract

Background

The mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (mini-MAC) is a well-recognised, popular measure of coping in psycho-oncology and assesses five cancer-specific coping strategies. It has been suggested that these five subscales could be grouped to form the over-arching adaptive and maladptive coping subscales to facilitate the interpretation and clinical application of the scale. Despite the popularity of the mini-MAC, few studies have examined its psychometric properties among long-term cancer survivors, and further validation of the mini-MAC is needed to substantiate its use with the growing population of survivors. Therefore, this study examined the psychometric properties and dimensionality of the mini-MAC in a sample of long-term cancer survivors using Rasch analysis.

Methods

RUMM 2030 was used to analyse the mini-MAC data (n=851). Separate Rasch analyses were conducted for each of the original mini-MAC subscales as well as the over-arching adaptive and maladaptive coping subscales to examine summary and individual model fit statistics, person separation index (PSI), response format, local dependency, targeting, item bias (or differential item functioning -DIF), and dimensionality.

Results

For the fighting spirit, fatalism, and helplessness-hopelessness subscales, a revised three-point response format seemed more optimal than the original four-point response. To achieve model fit, items were deleted from four of the five subscales – Anxious Preoccupation items 7, 25, and 29; Cognitive Avoidance items 11 and 17; Fighting Spirit item 18; and Helplessness-Hopelessness items 16 and 20. For those subscales with sufficient items, analyses supported unidimensionality. Combining items to form the adaptive and maladaptive subscales was partially supported.

Conclusions

The original five subscales required item deletion and/or rescaling to improve goodness of fit to the Rasch model. While evidence was found for overarching subscales of adaptive and maladaptive coping, extensive modifications were necessary to achieve this result. Further exploration and validation of over-arching subscales assessing adaptive and maladaptive coping is necessary with cancer survivors.

Keywords:
(3–10) Cancer; Psychometrics; Coping; Adjustment; Survivor; Questionnaires; Rasch