Use of open-ended questionnaires to examine the effects of tinnitus and its relation to patient-reported outcome measures09 Mar 2022
OBJECTIVE : The primary aim of the study was to examine the automated linguistic analysis of the open-ended problem (PQ) and life-effects (LEQ) questionnaires to understand the psychological effects of tinnitus. DESIGN : The study used a cross-sectional design. Participants completed online questionnaires which included demographic questions, several standardised patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), and two open-ended questions focussing on PQ and LEQ related to tinnitus. The response to open-ended questions was analysed using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) software to identify the frequency of text on various linguistic dimensions relevant to tinnitus. STUDY SAMPLE : 336 individuals with tinnitus. RESULTS : The study results point to two broad findings. First, although PQ and LEQ have some similarities with PROMs (e.g. the linguistic dimension negative emotions having a weak positive correlation with anxiety and depression), no correlation with the number of dimensions suggests that the open-ended questions identify additional elements that are not captured in PROMs. Second, more linguistic dimensions from the PQ correlate with PROMs compared to LEQ suggesting that the current PROMs are problem-oriented. CONCLUSIONS : The study results support the idea that the use of open-ended questions in addition to PROMs may help optimise the efforts in examining the effects of chronic conditions such as tinnitus.