Validation of subscales of the Severe Asthma Questionnaire (SAQ) using exploratory factor analysis (EFA)

Joseph W. Lanario, Michael E. Hyland*, Andrew Menzies-Gow, Adel H. Mansur, James W. Dodd, Stephen J. Fowler, Rupert C. Jones, Matthew Masoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Background: The Severe Asthma Questionnaire (SAQ) is a health related quality of life (HRQoL) questionnaire validated for use in severe asthma. It is scored using the mean value of 16 items (SAQ score) in addition to a single item global rating of HRQoL (SAQ-global). The aim was to validate clinically relevant subscales using exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Methods: The SAQ was completed, along with measures of asthma control and EQ5D-5L by patients attending six UK severe asthma centres. Clinical data were included in the analysis. EFA using principal axis factoring and oblimin rotation was used to achieve simple structure of data. Results: 460 patients with severe asthma participated, 65% women, mean age 51 (16-83) years. A three factor solution achieved best fit and showed that the SAQ items formed three distinct but inter-correlated groups of items where items were grouped in a way that was consistent with item content. The three subscales were differentially associated with clinically relevant variables (lung function and mood). Males and females interpreted the question of night disturbance in different ways. Conclusions: This paper provides a template for best practice in the use of EFA when validating HRQoL subscales. The SAQ can be scored as three subscales with content reflecting three different constructs people with severe asthma use when making judgements about their lives. The subscale 'My Life' assesses the impact of severe asthma on different life activities, 'My Mind' assesses the perceived emotional impact and 'My Body' the impact of extra-pulmonary symptoms and side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number336
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Investigator led non-promotional grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Asthma
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Measurement
  • Quality of life

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