Academic journal article Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry

A Life Satisfaction Questionnaire for Chinese Women with Schizophrenia

Academic journal article Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry

A Life Satisfaction Questionnaire for Chinese Women with Schizophrenia

Article excerpt

Abstract

Objective: To construct the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire.

Patients and Methods: Lehman's 'Quality of Life Interview Schedule' was used as a template for the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire to measure levels of satisfaction in 9 life domains of young Chinese women with schizophrenia.

Results: Data obtained from 109 young Chinese women with schizophrenia were used to demonstrate the reliability of the instrument. Psychometric properties of the scale were found to be reliable and internally cohesive.

Conclusion: The Life Satisfaction Questionnaire was considered to be a potentially effective questionnaire for eliciting a woman's satisfaction with her life. Further studies are needed to determine the questionnaire's test-retest reliability and its generalisability to other groups of women with mental illness.

Key words: Chinese women, Life satisfaction, Mental illness, Questionnaire

Introduction

Life satisfaction or quality of life is an individual's evaluation of the differences between his/her accomplishment and experiences as well as hopes and expectations at a particular period of time. (1-2) Priorities, goals, and aspirations change with time and are modified by age and experience. There are 2 approaches to assess life satisfaction: subjective and objective. The method chosen is usually determined by the aims of the project. Often, both approaches are adopted by researchers. However, the estimate of distance between an individual's position and his goals may vary depending on who makes the assessment. (3)

Studies have found that correlation of perceptions of quality of life between patients and physicians is poor. (4-8) However, mental status may affect a person's thinking and perception, which may lead to a tendency to overly express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with certain aspects of life. It is the person's subjective evaluation of life and that should be accepted as a valid and true reflection of the person's life experience during that period of life, (9) and the credibility of self-rated quality of life by patients with schizophrenia has been demonstrated. (10) Thus a greater weight should be given to the individual's subjective feelings about the distance from his/her goals than to the judgement of an assessor. (3)

The importance of effectively engaging patients in obtaining accurate data on their overall condition (such as health problems and the interaction of internal and contextual factors) to formulate a comprehensive diagnostic profile has been acknowledged. (11) Certainly, a culturally relevant, valid, and reliable measurement tool could facilitate the process of appraising a patient's condition. Many studies have been conducted to investigate 'quality of life', 'life satisfaction', and 'well-being' of people with mental illness and the instruments used were specifically developed for their patients. However, there is a lack of a culturally relevant measurement tool to assess the level of life satisfaction of the female population, in particular, Asian women.

This study attempts to construct a culturally relevant, valid, and reliable questionnaire to measure the level of life satisfaction of Chinese women with schizophrenia, using Lehman's 'Quality of Life' Interview Schedule (12) (QOLIS) as a template.

Patients and Methods

The Modification

The QOLIS was chosen as the template for the questionnaire because it is a carefully designed, psychometrically adequate instrument constructed to assess perception of quality of life along several dimensions. According to Lehman, the overall purpose of the QOLIS was to assess the life circumstances of persons with chronic mental illnesses, both in term of what they actually do and experience ('objective' quality of life) and their feelings about these experiences ('subjective' quality of life).12 During the structured interviews, patients would be asked about the quality of their lives in 8 areas: living situation, family, social relations, leisure activities, work, finances, personal safety and legal problems, and health, and to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale of 1 (terrible) to 7 (delighted). …

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