Cross-Cultural Awareness in Quality of Life Assessment

Scott M. Debb


Since many tools for clinical assessment are available to practitioners of all medical and psychiatric fields, when a healthcare professional assesses the mental health of an individual, the use of culturally appropriate assessment measures used becomes increasingly important. Since many quality of life (QOL) assessment measures utilize Likert scaled questions, awareness and understanding of potential bias can greatly aid in clinical interpretation of scores, case conceptualization and treatment planning. Mental health professionals need to be cognizant of cultural issues and sensitive to the idea that the categorization of symptoms that our culture has clustered into disorders is dependent on specific cultural values (Draguns, 1987). Ultimately, cultural bias can greatly affect the validity and interpretability of assessment data. Modifications to assessment measures must also be considered in light of cross-cultural concerns, primarily as related to content validity. 

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