In current stroke care, cognitive problems are usually diagnosed in a stepwise manner. More specifically, screening instruments are first applied to support healthcare professionals in deciding whether a second step (an extensive assessment) would be appropriate. None of the existing screening instruments, however, takes navigation ability into account. This is problematic, as navigation impairment after stroke has been shown to be common, more so than previously thought. The Wayfinding Questionnaire (WQ) is therefore presented as a screening instrument for navigation-related complaints after stroke. The internal validity of the WQ was investigated in two samples of participants to establish the final version.
In Study 1, the WQ was administered in a representative sample of 356 healthy participants. Its factor structure was investigated using a principal component analysis. This procedure resulted in deletion of four items and revealed a three-factor structure: “Navigation and Orientation,” “Spatial Anxiety,” and “Distance Estimation”. In Study 2, a confirmatory analysis was performed to directly verify the factor structure as obtained in Study 1 based on data of 158 chronic mild stroke patients. Fit indices of the confirmatory analysis indicated acceptable model fit. The reliability of the three subscales was found to be very good in both healthy participants and patients.
These studies allowed us to determine the final version of the WQ. The results indicated that the WQ is an internally valid and reliable instrument that can be interpreted using a three-factor structure in both healthy respondents and chronic mild stroke patients.