An introduction to item response theory for health behavior researchers.
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OBJECTIVE: To introduce item response theory (IRT) to health behavior researchers by contrasting it with classical test theory and providing an example of IRT in health behavior. METHOD: Demonstrate IRT by fitting the 2PL model to substance-use survey data from the Adolescent Health Risk Behavior questionnaire (n=1343 adolescents). RESULTS: An IRT 2PL model can produce viable substance use scores that differentiate different levels of substance use, resulting in improved precision and specificity at the respondent level. CONCLUSION: IRT is a viable option for health researchers who want to produce high-quality scores for unidimensional constructs. The results from our example-although not flawless-demonstrate the feasibility of IRT in health behavior research.
author list (cited authors)
Warne, R. T., McKyer, E., & Smith, M. L.
complete list of authors
Warne, Russell T||McKyer, EJ Lisako||Smith, Matthew L