Do English and Chinese EQ-5D versions demonstrate measurement equivalence? An exploratory study

Nan Luo, Ling-Huo Chew, Kok-Yong Fong, Dow-Rhoon Koh, Swee-Cheng Ng, Kam-Hon Yoon, Sheila Vasoo, Shu-Chuen Li, Julian Thumboo
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2003, 1: 7

BACKGROUND: Although multiple language versions of health-related quality of life instruments are often used interchangeably in clinical research, the measurement equivalence of these versions (especially using alphabet vs pictogram-based languages) has rarely been assessed. We therefore investigated the measurement equivalence of English and Chinese versions of the EQ-5D, a widely used utility-based outcome instrument.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional study, either EQ-5D version was administered to consecutive outpatients with rheumatic diseases. Measurement equivalence of EQ-5D item responses and utility and visual analog scale (EQ-VAS) scores between these versions was assessed using multiple regression models (with and without adjusting for potential confounding variables), by comparing the 95% confidence interval (95%CI) of score differences between these versions with pre-defined equivalence margins. An equivalence margin defined a magnitude of score differences (10% and 5% of entire score ranges for item responses and utility/EQ-VAS scores, respectively) which was felt to be clinically unimportant.

RESULTS: Sixty-six subjects completed the English and 48 subjects the Chinese EQ-5D. The 95%CI of the score differences between these versions overlapped with but did not fall completely within pre-defined equivalence margins for 4 EQ-5D items, utility and EQ-VAS scores. For example, the 95%CI of the adjusted score difference between these EQ-5D versions was -0.14 to +0.03 points for utility scores and -11.6 to +3.3 points for EQ-VAS scores (equivalence margins of -0.05 to +0.05 and -5.0 to +5.0 respectively).

CONCLUSION: These data provide promising evidence for the measurement equivalence of English and Chinese EQ-5D versions.

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