Research Writing

Pfeiffer questionnaire/used for/how is it done/questions

The Pfeiffer questionnaire has become one of the most useful tools in the field of medicine for the detection of cognitive impairment, mainly in older adults.

Find out what it is, what its main uses are and how you can do it today through online tools.

What is the Pfeiffer questionnaire?

The Pfeiffer questionnaire helps you detect the existence and degree of cognitive impairment through 10 short questions

It is a variation created by Pfeiffer in 1975 to the Mental State Questionnaire (MSQ), which is why it is also known as the Brief Portable Mental State Questionnaire (SPMSQ), and adds a serial subtraction item that provides a brief measurement , objective and quantitative of the cognitive functioning of the elderly.  

The ten items on the SPMSQ were selected as the most discriminating from among 31 questions taken from existing mental status tests and clinical experience. The questions cover orientation in time and place, remote memory, and general knowledge.

This psychological survey explores short-term and long-term memory , orientation, information about everyday events, and ability to calculate. 

What is the Pfeiffer questionnaire used for?

This questionnaire is really useful for doctors and researchers whose practice includes elderly patients, so they needshort and reliable instrument to detect the presence of intellectual impairment and determine its degree. 

The Pfeiffer questionnaire is easily administered by any clinician in the office or in a hospital. It was designed for use with individual patient samples, but the results show that it is less appropriate in community studies.

How is the Pfeiffer questionnaire done?

The Pfeiffer questionnaire is a quantitative type study, which takes only a few minutes to complete. Interpretation is done by counting the number of errors.  

The SPMSQ score counts the number of errors, so a score of 0 is ideal. Omissions are counted as errors. Three groups of severity of chronic brain syndrome were proposed according to the number of mistakes made: 

The SPMSQ established four categories: 

  1. Intact mental functioning.
  2. Borderline or slight organic deterioration.
  3. Defined but moderate organic deterioration.
  4. Severe organic deterioration.

Pfeiffer quiz questions

These are the questions that are part of the Pfeiffer questionnaire, a type of survey for older adults :

  1. What is today’s date? (one)
  2. What day of the week?
  3. Where are we? (two)
  4. What is your phone number? (If you do not have a telephone, what is your full address?)
  5. How old are you?
  6. Where was he born?
  7. What is the name of the president?
  8. What is the name of the previous president?
  9. Mention your mother‘s maiden name.
  10. From the number 29 subtract three at a time (3)

Results according to the number of errors obtained:

  • 0-2: Normal cognitive assessment
  • 3-4: Slight impairment
  • 5-7: Moderate deterioration
  • 8-10: Severe deterioration

As additional notes, it is considered that if the educational level of the patient is low (that is, with elementary studies), one more error is allowed for each category. If the person’s educational level is high, for example, they have a university degree, one less error is allowed.

Take the Pfeiffer questionnaire online

The Pfeiffer questionnaire is usually carried out in person in a hospital or health care clinic, but nowadays it can also be easily applied through an online survey platform , especially to avoid contact in times of pandemic or to expedite the process.  

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