Table 1 Summary table of illness representation instruments comprising characteristics of the instruments, most relevant clinimetric properties and result of application in rheumatology
QuestionnaireItems and subscalesScoring of items and range of scoresPopulationTest–retest reliabilityConstruct validityPredictive validityApplication in rheumatology
ICQ (generic)18 items; 3 subscales:    Helplessness    Acceptance    Disease benefitsCronbach α: 0.84–0.91Subscale correlation: positive or negative: 0.03–0.46Items: 4-point LikertTotal: 18 per subscaleRA and MS n = 430Pearson >0.67Moderate to good correlation between subscales with multiple instruments (disease activity, mood, impact on daily life, personality, coping, social support) Known group validity: no gender differences. Helplessness correlated negatively with education in RA. Acceptance increases with disease duration in RA and MS. Acceptance correlated with better functioning in RA but not MS. Perceived benefits predicted decreased impact on daily life in RA but not MS.Moderate to good correlation with multiple instruments after 1 year (RA and MS comparable)3 studiesResults:     CP: helplessness strongest contributor to pain and disability19     CP: CBT decreases helplessness18    CP/FM: moderate correlation of pain score with acceptance20
IPQ (generic and disease specific adaptations)38 items; 5 subscales:    Identity    Cause    Time-line    Consequences    Control/cureCronbach α: 0.73–0.82Subscale correlation: positive or negative 0.07–0.52Items: 4-point (identity) or 5-point Likert (other subscales) Total: identity: 0–12; cause: not summed; other subscales: average of summed itemsScoring syntax availableMI, CFS, RA, DM, chronic pain syndrome, renal disease, asthman = 1358Cause: not testedOther subscales: correlations at 1 month: 0.49–0.84In recent MI: moderate to good correlations between subscales and several outcomes (SIP disability score, recent doctor visits, health distress, self-efficacy, self-rated health, likelihood future MI, control over heart problems) (cause Not tested) Known group validity (also tested for Cause scale): several differences between the RA, CFS, DM and chronic pain were noted (not explained by disease characteristics)In MI: meaningful correlations were seen with self-reported health, likelihood of MI, control over heart disease and doctor’s visits at 3 and/or 6 months (cause: not tested)6 studiesResults:     RA: identity/control-cure related to function, IPQ related to more depression, identity associated with serious consequences, adjustment, disability and psychiatric morbidity, consequences predict depression and relate to well-being, disease duration relates to less serious consequences and less control-cure23 2529     FM: IPQ related to readiness to change22     RSD: IPQ better predictor of QoL than coping24
IPQ-R (generic and disease specific adaptations)70 items; 12 subscales:     Identity    Consequences—time    Line acute/chronic    Time-line cyclical    Illness coherence    Emotional dimensions    Psychological attributions (cause)     Risk factors (cause)     Immunity (cause)     Accidents/chance (cause)     Personal control    Treatment controlCronbach’s α: 0.67–0.86Subscale correlation: positive or negative: 0.01–0.74Items: Identity: yes/noOther: 5-point LikertTotal: maximum range unclearScoring syntax availableHIV, RA, asthma, acute pain, CP, DM, MI, MSn = 711RA: Pearson’s 0.35–082Dialysis: Pearson’s 0.46–0.88The identity subscale reveals a difference between experienced symptoms and those associated with the diseaseLow to moderate correlation for other subscales with affect (PANAS) In MS IPQ-R contributes to adjustment measured by SIPKnown group validity: there were significant differences between patients with acute and chronic painNot tested4 studiesResults:     RA/CFS: less serious consequences/more chronic than CFS32     SSc: strong illness beliefs related to emotions33     (Hand) OA: high IPQ-R score related to more limitations, beliefs of high impact on life indicates more symptoms, frustration and health behaviour30 31
IMIQ (generic)24 items; 4 subscales:     Seriousness    Personal responsibility    Controllability    ChangeabilityCronbach’s α: 0.68–0.92No subscale correlation availableItems: 9-point LikertDM, DM educators, psychology studentsn = 165Not testedKnown group validity: the 3 groups: have different representations about 3 diseases (influenza, diabetes, cancer) but DM evoke similar representation than their carers. Differences between patients and students for seriousness and responsibilityNot tested1 studyResults:     RA/MS: belief in serious consequences, personal cause and curability predicts depressed mood34
MIQ (generic) MIQ-’92 was studiedLast version: 30 items: 2 questions about life beliefs and commitments5 subscales:     Impact on ADL    Type of stress    Degree of stress    Positive attitude/control—expectancy/reoccurrenceNo Cronbach’s α availableSubscale correlation: positive or negative: 0.04–0.46Items: 7-point Likert scaleScoring system availableCancer, RA, GE-patients, adolescentsn = 320κ: 0.45–1.00 (most between 0.60–0.77)Good correlation of all scales with psychosocial adjustment (PAIS) in hypothesised directionKnown group validity: Cancer had a more hopeful representation and RA patients a more disabling representation of their illness. Similar variables of illness representations explained adjustment (PAIS)Not tested3 studies in SLE, CP, RA/onco/GEResults:     SLE: MIQ associated with psychosocial adjustment37     CP: MIQ predicts variance in health consumption between sexes38     RA/onco/GE: PAIS explains more variance than MIQ35 36
  • CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy; CFS, chronic fatigue syndrome; CP, chronic pain; DM, diabetes mellitus; FM, fibromyalgia; GE, gastroenterology; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; ICQ, illness cognition questionnaire; IMIQ, implicit models of illness questionnaire; IPQ, illness perception questionnaire; IPQ-R, revised illness perception questionnaire; MI, myocardial infarction; MIQ, meaning of illness questionnaire; MS, multiple sclerosis; OA, osteoarthritis; PAIS, Psychosocial Adjustment Impact Scale; PANAS, Positive and Negative Affect Scale; QoL, quality of life; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; RSD, reflex sympathetic dystrophy; SIP, Sickness Impact Profile; SLE, systemic lupus erythematosus; SSc, systemic sclerosis.