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Measurement Characteristics and Clinical Utility of the 29-Item Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale

Gail L. Widener, Diane D. Allen

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Volume 95, Issue 3, March 2014, Pages 593–594

The Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS-29) is a 29-item self-report measure comprised of 20 items associated with a physical scale and 9 items associated with a psychological scale.1 Items question patients (or their proxies) about the impact of multiple sclerosis (MS) on day-to-day life in the last 2 weeks. All items have 5 response options from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely). Each of the 2 scales are scored by summing the responses across items, then converting to a 0 to 100 scale, where 100 indicates greater impact of disease on daily function (worse health). The items were selected via a standardized psychometric process: generating a large item pool from patient interviews and professional judgment, then winnowing down to the current items based on pilot and field testing.1 Reliability and validity evidence have been obtained in multiple samples of people with MS from disability levels of 0 to 9.5 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale. The MSIS-29 is responsive to intervention, with a change score of about 8 on the physical scale or about 6 on the psychological scale having moderate to high sensitivity and specificity for patients, indicating whether they had improved or not. A 7-member MS Outcome Measure Task Force of the neurology section of the American Physical Therapy Association highly recommends this measure for use in this population across disability levels and practice settings (


This abbreviated summary provides a review of the psychometric properties of the MSIS-29. A full review of the MSIS-29 and 62 other measures for patients with MS can be found at Reviews of nearly 200 other instruments for patients with various health conditions can be found at

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

The Grant for Multiple Sclerosis Innovation
supports promising translational research projects by academic researchers to improve understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) for the ultimate benefit of patients.  For full information and application details, please click here

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Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, September 2015, Vol 4 Issue 5