Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Linking Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) and Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) scores with item response theory. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2022 Nov 03:1-8



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID





OBJECTIVE: Despite the public health burden of traumatic brain injury (TBI) across broader society, most TBI studies have been isolated to a distinct subpopulation. The TBI research literature is fragmented further because often studies of distinct populations have used different assessment procedures and instruments. Addressing calls to harmonize the literature will require tools to link data collected from different instruments that measure the same construct, such as civilian mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and sports concussion symptom inventories.

METHOD: We used item response theory (IRT) to link scores from the Rivermead Post Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) and the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT) symptom checklist, widely used instruments for assessing civilian and sport-related mTBI symptoms, respectively. The sample included data from n = 397 patients who suffered a sports-related concussion, civilian mTBI, orthopedic injury control, or non-athlete control and completed the SCAT and/or RPQ.

RESULTS: The results of several analyses supported sufficient unidimensionality to treat the RPQ + SCAT combined item set as measuring a single construct. Fixed-parameter IRT was used to create a cross-walk table that maps RPQ total scores to SCAT symptom severity scores. Linked and observed scores were highly correlated (r = .92). Standard errors of the IRT scores were slightly higher for civilian mTBI patients and orthopedic controls, particularly for RPQ scores linked from the SCAT.

CONCLUSION: By linking the RPQ to the SCAT we facilitated efforts to effectively combine samples and harmonize data relating to mTBI.

Author List

Simons MU, Nelson LD, McCrea MA, Balsis S, Hoelzle JB, Magnus BE


Michael McCrea PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Lindsay D. Nelson PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin