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Article
An introduction to item response theory for health behavior researchers
American Journal of Health Behavior (2012)
  • Russell T Warne, Utah Valley University
Abstract
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.
Keywords
  • item response theory,
  • psychometrics,
  • survey research,
  • adolescents,
  • ATOD
Publication Date
January, 2012
Citation Information
Russell T Warne. "An introduction to item response theory for health behavior researchers" American Journal of Health Behavior Vol. 36 Iss. 1 (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rwarne/14/