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01-06-2015 | Uitgave 6/2015

Quality of Life Research 6/2015

Cross-cultural measurement equivalence of the EQ-5D-5L items for English-speaking Asians in Singapore

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 6/2015
N. Luo, Y. Wang, C. H. How, K. Y. Wong, L. Shen, E. G. Tay, J. Thumboo, M. Herdman



To investigate how the response labels of the 5-level EQ-5D (EQ-5D-5L) items are interpreted and used by English-speaking Chinese and non-Chinese Singaporeans, as a means to assessing whether those items are cross-culturally equivalent health-status measures in this Asian population.


In face-to-face interviews, Chinese, Malay and Indian visitors to a primary care institution in Singapore were asked to rate the relative severity conveyed by EQ-5D-5L response labels, each containing the keyword of ‘no(t),’ ‘slight(ly),’ ‘moderate(ly),’ ‘severe(ly),’ or ‘unable’/‘extreme(ly),’ using a 0–100 numerical rating scale. Participants were also asked to describe 25 hypothetical health states using the EQ-5D-5L response labels. Differences between Chinese and Malay/Indian participants in label interpretation and selection were examined using multivariate regression analysis to adjust for participant characteristics.


The differences in adjusted mean severity scores for individual EQ-5D-5L labels between Chinese (n = 148) and non-Chinese (Malay: n = 53; Indian: n = 56) participants ranged from 0.0 to 9.0. The relative severity of the labels to the participants supported the ordinality of the EQ-5D-5L response labels and was similar across ethnic groups. Chinese and non-Chinese participants selected similar response labels to describe each hypothetical health state, with the adjusted odds ratios of selecting any type of the five response labels for non-Chinese versus Chinese participants ranging from 0.92 to 1.15 (p > 0.05 for all).


The EQ-5D-5L items are likely to generate equivalent health outcomes between English-speaking Chinese and non-Chinese Singaporeans.

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