Background: Testing cross-cultural equivalence of patient-reported outcomes requires sufficiently large samples per country, which is difficult to achieve in rare endocrine paediatric conditions. We describe a novel approach to cross-cultural testing of the Quality of Life in Short Stature Youth (QoLISSY) questionnaire in five countries by sequentially taking one country out (TOCO) from the total sample and iteratively comparing the resulting psychometric performance. Methods: Development of the QoLISSY proceeded from focus group discussions through pilot testing to field testing in 268 short-statured patients and their parents. To explore cross-cultural equivalence, the iterative TOCO technique was used to examine and compare the validity, reliability, and convergence of patient and parent responses on QoLISSY in the field test dataset, and to predict QoLISSY scores from clinical, socio-demographic and psychosocial variables. Results: Validity and reliability indicators were satisfactory for each sample after iteratively omitting one country. Comparisons with the total sample revealed cross-cultural equivalence in internal consistency and construct validity for patients and parents, high inter-rater agreement and a substantial proportion of QoLISSY variance explained by predictors. Conclusion: The TOCO technique is a powerful method to overcome problems of country-specific testing of patient-reported outcome instruments. It provides an empirical support to QoLISSY's cross-cultural equivalence and is recommended for future research.

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