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Cross-cultural translation, adaptation, and psychometric testing of the Roland-Morris disability questionnaire into modern standard Arabic

Article type: Published article


STUDY DESIGN: Cross-cultural translation, adaptation, and psychometric testing. OBJECTIVE: To cross-culturally translate and adapt the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) into Modern Standard Arabic and examine its validity with Arabic-speaking patients with low back pain (LBP). SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The English RMDQ is valid, reliable, and commonly used to assess LBP disability in clinical practice and research. There is no valid and reliable version of the RMDQ in Modern Standard Arabic. METHODS: The RMDQ was forward translated and back translated. An expert committee of musculoskeletal physiotherapists reviewed the translation. Eight patients with LBP evaluated item-by-item comprehensibility. Ten patients piloted the RMDQ for overall comprehensibility and acceptability. Seventeen bilingual patients tested the agreement of the Arabic and English RMDQs. Two-hundred one patients completed the RMDQ and the visual analogue scale. Sixty-four patients were followed-up for test-retest reliability. RESULTS: Translation of most items was uncontroversial. The expert committee found the Arabic RMDQ clinically and culturally appropriate. They reviewed item 11, addressing bending and kneeling, because this has a clinical significance and cultural/religious implication regarding prayer positions. All patients reported that it was easy to understand and complete. The Arabic RMDQ had high overall agreement with the English RMDQ for the global score (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.925; 0.811-0.972). Kappa statistics showed good item-by-item agreement (none </=0.30). Mean (SD) RMDQ and visual analog scale scores of 201 patients were 10.53 (4.80) and 5.11 (2.28), respectively. The RMDQ had a low correlation against pain intensity (r = 0.259; P < 0.01). A Cronbach alpha of 0.729 showed high internal consistency. Test-retest reliability of the Arabic RMDQ was good (ICC = 0.900; 95% confidence interval, 0.753-0.951). Kappa statistics were high for 18 items and fair for 6. CONCLUSION: The Arabic version of the RMDQ has good comprehensibility and acceptability, high internal consistency and reliability, low correlation against pain intensity, and good agreement with the English RMDQ. We recommend its use with Arabic-speaking patients with LBP. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 3.

Full citation

Maki D, Rajab E, Watson PJ, Critchley DJ. Cross-cultural translation, adaptation, and psychometric testing of the Roland-Morris disability questionnaire into modern standard Arabic. Spine. 2014;39(25):E1537-44.


Methods Condition Gender Age Country Setting Sample size
back pain Both 18 - older Bahrain
Healthcare Facility 17

Number of items

24 items


Measure does not require training

Required time

Less than 5 min

Access measure


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Articles last updated: March 2020