An innovative and reliable way of measuring health-related quality of life and mental distress in the deaf community

  • Johannes Fellinger
  • Daniel Holzinger
  • Ulrike Dobner
  • Joachim Gerich
  • Roland Lehner
  • Gerhard Lenz
  • David Goldberg
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Background

Structured assessment of quality of life and mental distress in deaf people is difficult for various reasons. This paper describes the development and reliability of an interactive computer-based assessment package for measuring quality of life and psychological distress in the deaf population.

Methods

The Brief version of the WHO Quality of Life (WHOQOL) Questionnaire, the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) had been translated into sign-language and videotaped. A total of 236 members of the deaf community in Upper Austria participated by responding to a programme consisting of self-administered written and videotaped test-items presented to them on a notebook computer. The reliability of the various assessments was established on this large community sample.

Results

When reliability of the versions for the deaf was compared with that of written versions of the same measures in general population samples, it was found to be somewhat lower, although still in an acceptable range, for the WHO-QOL and the GHQ-12. For the BSI, the reliability was even higher than that of the general population.

Conclusions

For deaf individuals whose preferred communication is sign language, quality of life and mental distress can be effectively and reliably assessed with the use of carefully translated and adapted common instruments.

Key words

quality of life deaf interactive video screening questionnaires mental health 

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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Fellinger
    • 1
  • Daniel Holzinger
    • 1
  • Ulrike Dobner
    • 1
  • Joachim Gerich
    • 2
  • Roland Lehner
    • 2
  • Gerhard Lenz
    • 3
  • David Goldberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Health Centre for the DeafHospital St. John of GodLinzAustria
  2. 2.Dept. of Sociology, Unit for empirical social researchJohannes Kepler UniversityLinzAustria
  3. 3.Dept. of PsychiatryUniv. of Vienna, Vienna General HospitalViennaAustria
  4. 4.Institute of PsychiatryKing’s CollegeLondonUK

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