PROMIS® Score Cut Points

General guidelines for interpreting PROMIS scores have been constructed using different methods.

PROMIS scores have a mean of 50 and standard deviation (SD) of 10 in a referent population.  

Profile Domains

Score ranges that correspond to within normal limits, mild, moderate, and severe were estimated for PROMIS profile and other domains.



PROMIS scientists constructed the interpretation of PROMIS scores graph for Profile domains by reviewing the data collected in the large scale calibration testing data (Cella et al 2010, Rothrock et al 2010). They started by reviewing whether 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 standard deviations were reasonable thresholds to use across domains. This was evaluated by looking at the percentage of participants from large scale calibration testing that would then fit into each category.


1. adult profile plus Feb 19 2019


2. PROMIS ped Feb 19 2019


 pedproxysleep revision June2020

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Very Low to Very High Domains

Many PROMIS domains are interpreted from very low to very high. For these domains, the mean (T=50) plus or minus one standard deviation (SD) is considered average (T=40 to 60).

  • Scores +/-1.0 SD from the mean = average
  • Scores +/- 1.0 to 2.0 SD from the mean = low/high
  • Scores +/- more than 2.0 SD from the mean = very low/very high

 3. low to high net Feb 19 2019

4. low to high pos Feb 19 2019



The cut points or thresholds for PROMIS Global Physical and Mental score categories of excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor were constructed by 1) creating groups based upon responses to Global01 “In general, would you say your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?”, 2) calculating mean scores for each group, and 3) identifying the midpoint between two adjacent means. For example, the mean Global Mental score for “Excellent” was 61 and the mean score for “Very Good” was 51. The midpoint between these scores is 56. Cut points are:

  • Global Mental: 56, 48, 40, 29
  • Global Physical: 58, 50, 42, 35

See Hays, Spritzer, Thompson & Cella (2015) for more information.

5. PROMIS Global Physical


6. PROMIS Global Mental

PROMIS ped global Dec19 2019 


Standard Setting Using Bookmarking

Researchers have adopted a method applied in educational testing to identify thresholds for levels of academic outcomes (e.g., math proficiency levels). This method, called Bookmarking, has been used to establish thresholds for severity levels (e.g., no problems, mild problems, moderate problems, severe problems) in multiple patient populations.  Learn more>>

Severity thresholds exist for:

Other Methods

Researchers have dichotomized responses to items and then used patterns of responses to determine no/mild, moderate, and severe score cut-points.