Rationale and objectives: Quality of life has emerged as a crucial concept for the assessment of health and the planning of health care. Desirable features for the evaluation of quality of life include comprehensiveness, self-ratedness, cultural sensitivity, practicality and psychometric soundness. An attempt to meet these challenges led to the development of a brief multicultural quality of life instrument and to the appraisal of its applicability, reliability and validity.
Methods: The development of the proposed assessment instrument was based on a wide review of the literature and the engagement of a multicultural mental health scholarly team. Its validation was conducted on samples of psychiatric patients (n = 124) and hospital professionals (n = 53) in New York City.
Results: A new generic culture-informed and self-rate instrument, the Multicultural Quality of Life Index, has been developed. Its 10 items cover key aspects of the concept, from physical well-being to spiritual fulfilment. Concerning its applicability, mean time for completion was less than 3 minutes and 96% of raters found it easy to use. Test-retest reliability was high (r = 0.87). A Cronbach's α of 0.92 documented its internal consistency and a factor analysis revealed a strong structure. With regard to discriminant validity, a highly significant difference was found between the mean total scores of professionals (x = 8.41) and patients (x = 6.34) presumed to have different levels of quality of life.
Conclusions: The Multicultural Quality of Life Index is a brief and culturally informed instrument that appears to be easy to complete, reliable, internally consistent and valid.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.