Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale

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Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale

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About Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale

Scale Name

Arthritis Impact Measurement Scale

Author Details

Robert F. Meenan along with colleagues

Translation Availability

Not Sure


The Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS) are a combination of previously studied and newly created health status scales that assess physical, emotional, and social well-being. The self-administered AIMS questionnaire has been pilot tested in a mixed arthritis population. Results indicate that the instrument is practical and that it generates scalable, reliable, and valid measures of both aggregated and disaggregated health status. The AIMS approach to health status measurement should prove useful for evaluating the outcomes of arthritis treatments and programs.

Arthritis can significantly impact a person’s life, affecting not just physical mobility but also emotional well-being and social interactions. To understand this holistic impact, researchers developed the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS).

Pioneered by Robert F. Meenan in the early 1980s, the AIMS is a multidimensional questionnaire designed specifically for patients with arthritis. Unlike some measures that focus solely on physical limitations, the AIMS takes a comprehensive approach. It delves into three key areas:

  • Physical Function: This section assesses how well a person can perform daily activities like bending, lifting objects, and walking.
  • Psychological and Social Impact: The AIMS recognizes that arthritis can affect mental health and social life. It includes subscales to measure symptoms of depression and anxiety, along with limitations in social activities and daily tasks like managing household chores.

The AIMS is a self-administered questionnaire, meaning patients fill it out independently. This allows for efficient data collection and provides valuable insights directly from the patient’s perspective. Each subscale is scored on a 0-100 point scale, with higher scores indicating better function in that particular area. The total score combines all subscales, offering a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health status.

The AIMS has become a valuable tool for healthcare professionals. It helps them assess the overall impact of arthritis on a patient’s life, beyond just physical limitations. This allows for more informed treatment decisions and better monitoring of a patient’s progress over time. Additionally, the AIMS exists in various versions, including shorter forms and versions tailored for specific age groups, making it adaptable for different clinical settings.

Administration, Scoring and Interpretation

  • Ensure you have the appropriate version of the AIMS for the patient population. There are variations like short forms and versions for specific age groups.
  • Provide a quiet and comfortable environment for the patient to complete the questionnaire.
  • Have a pen or pencil available for the patient.
  • Briefly explain the purpose of the AIMS – to understand how arthritis impacts their daily life.
  • Instruct the patient to read each question carefully and circle the answer that best reflects their experience in the past four weeks (this is the typical timeframe assessed by AIMS).
  • Emphasize that there are no right or wrong answers, and honesty is crucial for accurate results.
  • Clarify that they can skip any questions they find difficult to answer and come back to them later if needed.

Reliability and Validity

The Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales (AIMS) has established itself as a reliable and valid tool for assessing the impact of arthritis on a patient’s life. Here’s a breakdown of its strengths in these areas:


  • Internal Consistency: The AIMS demonstrates good internal consistency, meaning the questions within each subscale measure the same underlying concept. This is evaluated using Cronbach’s alpha, with values above 0.7 generally considered reliable. Studies have shown AIMS subscales to achieve alpha coefficients exceeding 0.7, indicating strong internal consistency.
  • Test-Retest Reliability: The AIMS shows good test-retest reliability, meaning that if a patient completes the questionnaire twice within a short period with no significant changes in their condition, their scores should be similar. Studies report intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) exceeding 0.70 for the AIMS, signifying reliable results across administrations.


  • Content Validity: The AIMS covers a broad range of aspects impacted by arthritis, including physical function, mental health, and social limitations. This comprehensive approach ensures the questionnaire captures the true impact of the disease.
  • Construct Validity: The AIMS measures what it is intended to measure. Studies have shown that AIMS scores correlate well with other established measures of physical function and mental health, supporting its ability to accurately assess these constructs.

Available Versions



  • Meenan‚ R.F.‚ Gertman‚ P.M.‚ Mason‚ J.H. (1980). Measuring health status in arthritis: the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. Arthritis Rheum‚ 23:146–152.
  • Meenan‚ R.F. (1982). The AIMS approach to health status measurement: conceptual background and measurement properties. J Rheumatol‚ 9:785–788.
  • Meenan‚ R.F. (1986). New approaches to outcome assessment: the AIMS questionnaire for arthritis. Adv Intern Med‚ 31:167–185.
  • Meenan‚ R.F.‚ Mason‚ J.H.‚ Anderson‚ J.J‚ et al. (1992). AIMS2: the content and properties of a revised and expanded Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales health status questionnaire. Arthritis Rheum‚ 35:1–10.
  • Guillemin‚ Francis.‚  Coste‚ Joel.‚ Pouchot‚ Jacques‚ et al. (1997). A Short Form of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2. ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM‚ 40(7): 1267-1274.
  • Ren‚ X.S.‚ Kazis‚ L.‚ Meenan‚ R.F. (1999). Short-form Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2: tests of reliability and validity among patients with osteoarthritis.. Arthritis Care Res‚ 12(3):163-71.
  • McDowell‚ Ian. (2006). Measuring Health: A Guide to Rating Scales and Questionnaires‚ Third Edition. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Mousavi‚ S. J.; Parnianpour‚ M.; AskaryAshtiani‚ A. R.; Hadian‚ M. R.; Rostamian‚ A. & Montazeri‚ A. (2009)‚ Translation and validation study of the Persian version of the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales 2 (AIMS2) in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee‚ Musculoskeletal Disorders‚ 10‚ 95‚ 5-9.

Important Link

Scale File:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the AIMS?
A self-administered questionnaire to assess the impact of arthritis on daily life.

Who developed it?
Robert F. Meenan and colleagues in the early 1980s.

What does it measure?
AIMS has subscales for physical function, self-care, social activity, mental health, and more.

How is it administered?
Patients fill it out independently, typically taking 15-minutes (full version).

How is it scored?
Each subscale has a 0-100 point scale (higher = better function). A total score combines all subscales.

Is it reliable?
Yes, the AIMS shows good internal consistency and test-retest reliability.

Is it valid?
Yes, the AIMS has strong content and construct validity, measuring what it’s intended to.

Why is it used?
To understand the overall impact of arthritis on a patient’s life.
Track treatment progress and compare patient populations in research.


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