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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008 Dec 2;6:108. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-6-108.

The reliability and validity of the SF-8 with a conflict-affected population in northern Uganda.

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Conflict and Health Programme, Health Policy Unit, Department of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.



The SF-8 is a health-related quality of life instrument that could provide a useful means of assessing general physical and mental health amongst populations affected by conflict. The purpose of this study was to test the validity and reliability of the SF-8 with a conflict-affected population in northern Uganda.


A cross-sectional multi-staged, random cluster survey was conducted with 1206 adults in camps for internally displaced persons in Gulu and Amuru districts of northern Uganda. Data quality was assessed by analysing the number of incomplete responses to SF-8 items. Response distribution was analysed using aggregate endorsement frequency. Test-retest reliability was assessed in a separate smaller survey using the intraclass correlation test. Construct validity was measured using principal component analysis, and the Pearson Correlation test for item-summary score correlation and inter-instrument correlations. Known groups validity was assessed using a two sample t-test to evaluates the ability of the SF-8 to discriminate between groups known to have, and not have, physical and mental health problems.


The SF-8 showed excellent data quality. It showed acceptable item response distribution based upon analysis of aggregate endorsement frequencies. Test-retest showed a good intraclass correlation of 0.61 for PCS and 0.68 for MCS. The principal component analysis indicated strong construct validity and concurred with the results of the validity tests by the SF-8 developers. The SF-8 also showed strong construct validity between the 8 items and PCS and MCS summary score, moderate inter-instrument validity, and strong known groups validity.


This study provides evidence on the reliability and validity of the SF-8 amongst IDPs in northern Uganda.

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