• Vol. 32 No. 5, 685–690
  • 15 September 2003

Validity and Reliability of the EQ-5D Self-report Questionnaire in Chinese-speaking Patients with Rheumatic Diseases in Singapore



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Objective: We assessed the psychometric properties of a Singaporean Chinese version of the EQ-5D, a health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instrument.

Materials and Methods: Consecutive outpatients with rheumatic diseases seen for routine follow-up consultations at the National University Hospital, Singapore were interviewed twice within 2 weeks using a standardised questionnaire containing the EQ-5D, the Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36), the Learned Helplessness Subscale, a pain Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and assessing demographic and psychosocial characteristics. To assess the validity of the EQ-5D, 13 hypotheses relating the EQ-5D self-classifier (5 dimensions) or visual analogue scale (EQ-VAS) to SF-36 scores or other variables were examined using the Mann-Whitney U test, Kruskal-Wallis or Spearman’s correlation coefficient. Test-retest reliability was assessed using Cohen’s kappa.

Results: Forty-eight subjects were studied (osteoarthritis: 16; rheumatoid arthritis: 22; systemic lupus erythematosus: 8; spondyloarthropathy: 2; female: 93.8%; mean age: 56.4 years). Seven of 13 a-priori hypotheses relating EQ-5D to external variables were fulfiled, supporting the validity of the EQ-5D. For example, subjects reporting moderate or extreme problems for EQ-5D dimensions generally had lower median SF-36 scores than those without such problems. Cohen’s kappa for test-retest reliability of the self-classifier ranged from 0.41 to 1.00 (n = 42; median interval: 7 days, interquartile range: 7 to 11 days).

Conclusions: The Singaporean Chinese EQ-5D self-classifier appears to be a valid measure of HRQoL in Singaporeans with rheumatic diseases; however, the reliability of the EQ-VAS requires further investigation. These data provide a basis for further studies of the Singaporean Chinese EQ-5D.

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) refers to patients’ perceptions of their own functioning and well-being. HRQoL is increasingly being used as a primary or secondary endpoint in clinical research and is essential in economic evaluation of new and often expensive therapies.

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