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Indian J Psychiatry. 1996 Oct;38(4):240-7.

Strengths and limitations in using psychiatric measures across cultures.

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  • 1S. Rajkumar, M.D., MRCPsych., Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College & Government General Hospital, Madras - 600 003.


Issues concerning the application of psychiatric measures across cultures are discussed in the light of the authors experiences with the Geriatric Mental State (GMS) and the WHO Quality of Life Instrument (WHOQOL). The aceptability of the GMS to non - literate populations are examined in the context of culture, age ascertainment, education and cognition and variances between the GMS - psychiatrist diagnosis. The WHOQOL which is in the developmental stage, brings forth issues concerning qualitative techniques in instrument development; conceptual, semantic and technical equivalence; translations and backtranslations and response formats. Potential barriers to using an existing measure in a new setting or developing a cross-culturally comparable one are elaborated.


GMS; Psychiatric measures; WHOQOL; cultures; limitations; strengths

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