Objective Generic preference-based measures such as the EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire (EQ-5D) are used in economic evaluation, but may not be appropriate for all conditions. When this happens, a possible solution is adding bolt-ons to expand their descriptive systems. Using review-based methods, studies published to date claimed the relevance of bolt-ons in the presence of poor psychometric results. This approach does not identify the specific dimensions missing from the Generic preference-based measure core descriptive system, and is inappropriate for identifying dimensions that might improve the measure generically. This study explores the use of principal-component analysis (PCA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) for bolt-on identification in the EQ-5D. Methods Data were drawn from the international Multi-Instrument Comparison study, which is an online survey on health and well-being measures in five countries. Analysis was based on a pool of 92 items from nine instruments. Initial content analysis provided a theoretical framework for PCA results interpretation and CFA model development. PCA was used to investigate the underlining dimensional structure and whether EQ-5D items were represented in the identified constructs. CFA was used to confirm the structure. CFA was cross-validated in random halves of the sample. Results PCA suggested a nine-component solution, which was confirmed by CFA. This included psychological symptoms, physical functioning, and pain, which were covered by the EQ-5D, and satisfaction, speech/cognition,relationships, hearing, vision, and energy/sleep which were not. These latter factors may represent relevant candidate bolt-ons. Conclusions PCA and CFA appear useful methods for identifying potential bolt-ons dimensions for an instrument such as the EQ-5D.
- health- related quality of life
- preference-based measures