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Empirically selected instruments for measuring quality-of-life dimensions in culturally diverse populations.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.


We describe a process for developing and testing the cultural equivalence of quality-of-life (QOL) instruments that may be used across culturally diverse populations. QOL instruments dealing with satisfaction with various life domains, psychological distress, and physical health and functioning were reviewed by African-American and Hispanic community advisory boards, translated into Spanish and back-translated to ensure translation adequacy, administered to samples of 100 patients from each of the ethnic minority populations by indigenous nurse interviewers, and examined for psychometric adequacy. Ten QOL measures showed adequate reliability and validity for further use in the assessment of QOL with African-American and Hispanic patients. Three other measures failed to meet the defined standards. A dimension shown to be particularly difficult to address across culturally diverse groups is family functioning. Procedures for achieving cultural equivalence of QOL measures have been shown to be practical and productive. Measures are identified that may be used with some confidence to assess varied dimensions of QOL with culturally diverse groups.

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