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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Psychiatry 1/2018

Cultural and linguistic transferability of the multi-dimensional OxCAP-MH capability instrument for outcome measurement in mental health: the German language version

BMC Psychiatry > Ausgabe 1/2018
Judit Simon, Agata Łaszewska, Eva Leutner, Georg Spiel, David Churchman, Susanne Mayer
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12888-018-1762-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Mental health conditions affect aspects of people’s lives that are often not captured in common health-related outcome measures. The OxCAP-MH self-reported, quality of life questionnaire based on Sen’s capability approach was developed in the UK to overcome these limitations. The aim of this study was to develop a linguistically and culturally valid German version of the questionnaire.


Following forward and back translations, the wording underwent cultural and linguistic validation with input from a sample of 12 native German speaking mental health patients in Austria in 2015. Qualitative feedback from patients and carers was obtained via interviews and focus group meetings. Feedback from mental health researchers from Germany was incorporated to account for cross-country differences.


No significant item modifications were necessary. However, changes due to ambiguous wordings, possibilities for differential interpretations, politically unacceptable expressions, cross-country language differences and differences in political and social systems, were needed. The study confirmed that all questions are relevant and understandable for people with mental health conditions in a German speaking setting and transferability of the questionnaire from English to German speaking countries is feasible.


Professional translation is necessary for the linguistic accuracy of different language versions of patient-reported outcome measures but does not guarantee linguistic and cultural validity and cross-country transferability. Additional context-specific piloting is essential. The time and resources needed to achieve valid multi-lingual versions should not be underestimated. Further research is ongoing to confirm the psychometric properties of the German version.
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