Maria Orlando Edelen

Photo of Maria Edelen
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Boston Office


Ph.D. in quantitative psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.A. in quantitative psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; B.A. in psychology, Boston College


Maria Orlando Edelen is a senior behavioral scientist and psychometrician at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses primarily on the application of item response theory (IRT) to instrument development, evaluation, and refinement in behavioral health contexts, with particular emphasis on the study of patient reported outcomes (PROs). Edelen is the director and lead psychometrician in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services project, development and maintenance of post-acute care cross-setting standardized patient assessment data, which, to support adherence to the mandates of the IMPACT Act of 2014, seeks to identify, evaluate, and implement standardized assessment items for use across 4 post-acute care settings (home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and long term care hospitals). Edelen was also principal investigator on a National Institute on Aging contract to develop outcome performance measures based on PROs for persons aged 65 and older with multiple chronic conditions and principal investigator of the PROMIS Smoking Initiative, a project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and evaluate IRT-based item banks for assessing smoking behaviors and attitudes.  Other ongoing and recently-completed research on instrument development and validation is supported by grants from the Department of Defense, NIDA, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. These and completed measurement projects include work with expert panels and evaluation of existing measures in addition to development of new items and measures. Edelen earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in quantitative psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Recent Projects

  • Development and Maintenance of Post-Acute Care Cross-Setting Standardized Patient Assessment Data
  • MACRA Palliative Care Measures Project
  • Home Health and Hospice Quality Reporting Program Support
  • Outcome Performance Measure Development for Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditoins
  • Development and Evaluation of a Smoking Module for PROMIS.

Selected Publications

Edelen, M.O., Stucky, B.D., Hansen, M., Joan S. Tucker, J.S., Shadel, W.G., Cai, L., "The PROMIS Smoking Initiative: Initial Validity Evidence for Six New Smoking Item Banks," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2014

Edelen, M. O., Stucky, B. D., and Chandra, A, "Quantifying 'Problematic' DIF within an IRT Framework: Application to a Cancer Stigma Index.," Quality of Life Research, 2013

Edelen, M.O., Tucker, J.S., Shadel, W.G., Stucky, B.D., Cai, L., "Toward a More Systematic Assessment of Smoking: Development of a Smoking Module for PROMIS®.," Addictive Behaviors, 37(11), 2012

Edelen, M.O., & Saliba, D., "Correspondence of Verbal Descriptor and Numeric Rating Scales for Pain Intensity: An Item Response Theory Calibration.," The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2010

Edelen, M.O., Slaughter, M.E., McCaffrey, D.F., Becker, K., and Morral, A.R., "Long term effect of community-based treatment: Evidence from the adolescent outcomes project," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107(1), 2010

Edelen, M.O., Reeve, B., "Applying Item Response Theory (IRT) Modeling to Questionnaire Development, Evaluation, and Refinement," Quality of Life Research, 2007

Orlando, M., Ellickson, P.L., McCaffrey, D.F., Longshore, D.L., "Mediation analysis of a school-based drug prevention program: Effects of Project ALERT," Prevention Science, 2005

Orlando, M., Tucker, J.S., Ellickson, P.E., and Klein, D.J., "Developmental trajectories of cigarette smoking and their correlates from early adolescence to young adulthood.," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2004