Modified WHODAS-II provides valid measure of global disability but filter items increased skewness

Michael Von Korff, Paul K. Crane, Jordi Alonso, Gemma Vilagut, Matthias C. Angermeyer, Ronny Bruffaerts, Giovanni de Girolamo, Oye Gureje, Ron de Graaf, Yueqin Huang, Noboru Iwata, Elie G. Karam, Viviane Kovess, Carmen Lara, Daphna Levinson, José Posada-Villa, Kate M. Scott, Johan Ormel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The WHODAS-II was substantially modified for use in the World Mental Health Surveys. This article considers psychometric properties and implications of filter items used to reduce respondent burden of the modified WHODAS-II. Study Design and Setting: Seventeen surveys in 16 countries administered a modified WHODAS-II to population samples (N = 38,934 adults). Modifications included introducing filter questions for four subscales and substituting questions on the number of days activity was limited for the Life Activities domain. We evaluated distributional properties, reliability, and validity of the modified WHODAS-II. Results: Most respondents (77%-99%) had zero scores on filtered subscales. Lower bound estimates of internal consistency (alpha) for the filtered subscales were typically in the 0.70s, but were higher for the Global scale. Loadings of subscale scores on a Global Disability factor were moderate to high. Correlations with the Sheehan Disability Scale were modest but consistently positive, while correlations with SF-12 Physical Component Summary were considerably higher. Cross-national variability in disability scores was observed, but was not readily explainable. Conclusions: Internal consistency and validity of the modified WHODAS-II was generally supported, but use of filter questions impaired measurement properties. Group differences in modified WHODAS-II disability scores may be compared within, but not necessarily across, countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1143
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Disability
  • Epidemiology
  • Measurement
  • Reliability
  • Survey
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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