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Geyh, Szilvia; Fellinghauer, Bernd A. G.; Kirchberger, Inge und Post, Marcel W. M.: Cross-cultural validity of four quality of life scales in persons with spinal cord injury. In: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2010, 8:94


Background: Quality of life (QoL) in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) has been found to differ across countries. However, comparability of measurement results between countries depends on the cross-cultural validity of the applied instruments. The study examined the metric quality and cross-cultural validity of the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire (LISAT-9), the Personal Well-Being Index (PWI) and the 5-item World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment (WHOQoL-5) across six countries in a sample of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods: A cross-sectional multi-centre study was conducted and the data of 243 out-patients with SCI from study centers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, South Africa, and the United States were analyzed using Raschbased methods. Results: The analyses showed high reliability for all 4 instruments (person reliability index .78-.92). Unidimensionality of measurement was supported for the WHOQoL-5 (Chi(2) = 16.43, df = 10, p =.088), partially supported for the PWI (Chi(2) = 15.62, df = 16, p = .480), but rejected for the LISAT-9 (Chi(2) = 50.60, df = 18, p = .000) and the SWLS (Chi2 = 78.54, df = 10, p =.000) based on overall and item-wise Chi(2) tests, principal components analyses and independent t-tests. The response scales showed the expected ordering for the WHOQoL-5 and the PWI, but not for the other two instruments. Using differential item functioning (DIF) analyses potential cross-country bias was found in two items of the SWLS and the WHOQoL-5, three items of the LISAT-9 and four items of the PWI. However, applying Rasch-based statistical methods, especially subtest analyses, it was possible to identify optimal strategies to enhance the metric properties and the cross-country equivalence of the instruments post-hoc. Following the post-hoc procedures the WHOQOL-5 and the PWI worked in a consistent and expected way in all countries. Conclusions: QoL assessment using the summary scores of the WHOQOL-5 and the PWI appeared cross-culturally valid in persons with SCI. In contrast, summary scores of the LISAT-9 and the SWLS have to be interpreted with caution. The findings of the current study can be especially helpful to select instruments for international research projects in SCI.