The reliability and validity of the short version of the WHO Quality of Life Instrument in an Arab general population

Ann Saudi Med. Mar-Apr 2009;29(2):98-104. doi: 10.4103/0256-4947.51790.


Background and objectives: There is rising interest in quality of life (QOL) research in Arabian countries. The aim of this study was to assess in a nationwide sample of Kuwaiti subjects the reliability and validity of the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF), a shorter version of the widely used QOL assessment instrument that comprises 26 items in the domains of physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and the environment.

Methods: A one-in-three systematic random proportionate sample of consenting Kuwaiti nationals attending large cooperative stores and municipal government offices in the six governorates completed the Arabic translation of the questionnaire. The indices assessed included test-retest reliability, internal consistency, item internal consistency (IIC), item discriminant validity (IDV), known-groups and construct validity.

Results: There were 3303 participants (44.8% males, 55.2% females, mean age 35.4 years, range 16 to 87 years). The intra-class correlation for the test-retest statistic and the internal consistency values for the full questionnaire and the domains had a Cronbach's alpha>/=0.7. Of the 24 items that constitute the domains, 21 met the IIC requirement of correlation > or =0.4 with the corresponding domain, while 16 met the IDV criterion of having a higher correlation with their corresponding domain than other domains. Domain scores discriminated significantly between well and sick groups. In the factor analysis, four strong factors emerged with the same construct as in the WHO report.

Conclusion: The Arabic translation of the WHOQOL-BREF has impressive reliability and validity indices. The poor IDV findings are due to the multidimensional nature of the questionnaire. The highly significant validity indices should reassure researchers that the questionnaire represents the same constructs across cultures. Negatively worded items possibly need refinement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Kuwait
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Translations
  • World Health Organization