Development of the pediatric daily ulcerative colitis signs and symptoms scale (DUCS): Qualitative research findings

Emuella Flood, Debra G. Silberg, Beverly Romero, Kathleen Beusterien, M. Haim Erder, Carmen Cuffari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study is to develop patient-reported (PRO) and observer-reported (ObsRO) outcome measures of ulcerative colitis (UC) signs/symptoms in children aged 5-17 with mild/moderate UC. The daily ulcerative colitis signs and symptoms scale (DUCS) was developed in two phases. Phase I involved concept elicitation interviews with patients and healthcare providers, review of website posts and item generation. Phase II involved cognitive debriefing and assessment of usability and feasibility of the eDiaries. Participants were recruited from five US clinical sites, a research recruitment agency, and internet advertising. Thematic and content analysis was performed to identify concepts from Phase I. The Phase II cognitive debriefing interviews were analyzed iteratively to identify problems with clarity and relevance of eDiary content. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reviewed and provided feedback on the eDiaries. Results: Phase I included 32 participants (22 remission; 10 active disease). Phase II included 38 participants (22 remission; 16 active disease). A core set of seven signs and symptoms emerged that were reported by at least 30% of the patients interviewed: abdominal pain, blood in stool, frequent stools, diarrhea, stool urgency, nighttime stools, and tiredness. Participant input influenced changes such as refinement of item wording, revision of graphics, and selection of response scales. Revisions suggested by FDA included simplifying the response scale and adding questions to capture symptoms during sleeping hours. Conclusions: The findings of instrument development suggest that the DUCS PRO and ObsRO eDiaries are content-valid instruments for capturing the daily signs and symptoms of pediatric patients with mild to moderate UC in a clinical trial setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number491
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 25 2017


  • Content validation
  • Diary
  • Observer-reported outcome
  • Patient-reported outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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