Development and Validation of a Quantitative Measure of Adaptive Behaviors in Women with Pelvic Floor Disorders

Academic Article


  • Purpose To establish validity for the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network (PFDN) self-administered Adaptive Behavior Index (ABI) and to assess whether ABI assesses known discordance between severity of pelvic floor symptoms and self-reported bother. Methods In addition to the ABI questionnaire, participants in 1 of 6 Pelvic Floor Disorders Network trials completed condition-specific measures of pretreatment symptom severity (including Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory; PFDI) and health-related quality of life (Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire; PFIQ). The final survey was developed from an iterative process using subject and expert endorsement, factor analyses, and response distributions. Domains were created using a development cohort (n = 304 women), reliability and validity were established using a validation cohort (n = 596 women), and test-retest reliability was assessed (n = 111 women). Results Factor analyses supported an 11-item avoidance domain and a 6-item hygiene domain. Cronbach' alphas were 0.88 and 0.68, respectively. Test-retest reliability was 0.84 for both domains. Construct validity was demonstrated in correlations between the ABI domains and baseline PFDI and PFIQ (r values, 0.43-0.79 with all P values <0.0001). Moreover, the ABI accounted for 8% to 26% of unexplained variance between the symptoms severity measure and the impact on health related quality of life. After treatment, avoidance domain scores improved for urinary and fecal incontinence groups and hygiene scores improved for the fecal incontinence group. Conclusions The ABI is a reliable and valid measure in women with pelvic floor disorders. Adaptive behaviors account in part for discordance between pelvic floor symptom severity and bother.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wei JT; Dunn R; Nygaard I; Burgio K; Lukacz ES; Markland A; Wren PA; Brubaker L; Barber MD; Jelovsek JE
  • Start Page

  • 232
  • End Page

  • 237
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 4