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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Validation of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form: a cross-sectional study of a dialysis-targeted health measure in Singapore

Veena D Joshi1*, Nandakumar Mooppil2 and Jeremy FY Lim1

Author Affiliations

1 SingHealth Centre for Health Services Research, Singapore Health Services Pte. Ltd.,Singapore

2 National Kidney Foundation, Singapore

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BMC Nephrology 2010, 11:36  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-36

Published: 20 December 2010



In Singapore, the prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the number of people on dialysis is increasing. The impact of ESRD on patient quality of life has been recognized as an important outcome measure. The Kidney Disease Quality Of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF™) has been validated and is widely used as a measure of quality of life in dialysis patients in many countries, but not in Singapore. We aimed to determine the reliability and validity of the KDQOL-SF™ for haemodialysis patients in Singapore.


From December 2006 through January 2007, this cross-sectional study gathered data on patients ≥21 years old, who were undergoing haemodialysis at National Kidney Foundation in Singapore. We used exploratory factor analysis to determine construct validity of the eight KDQOL-SF™ sub-scales, Cronbach's alpha coefficient to determine internal consistency reliability, correlation of the overall health rating with kidney disease-targeted scales to confirm validity, and correlation of the eight sub-scales with age, income and education to determine convergent and divergent validity.


Of 1980 haemodialysis patients, 1180 (59%) completed the KDQOL-SF™. Full information was available for 980 participants, with a mean age of 56 years. The sample was representative of the total dialysis population in Singapore, except Indian ethnicity that was over-represented. The instrument designers' proposed eight sub-scales were confirmed, which together accounted for 68.4% of the variance. All sub-scales had a Cronbach's α above the recommended minimum value of 0.7 to indicate good reliability (range: 0.72 to 0.95), except for Social function (0.66). Correlation of items within subscales was higher than correlation of items outside subscales in 90% of the cases. The overall health rating positively correlated with kidney disease-targeted scales, confirming validity. General health subscales were found to have significant associations with age, income and education, confirming convergent and divergent validity.


The psychometric properties of the KDQOL-SF™ resulting from this first-time administration of the instrument support the validity and reliability of the KDQOL-SF™ as a measure of quality of life of haemodialysis patients in Singapore. It is, however, necessary to determine the test-retest reliability of the KDQOL-SF™ among the haemodialysis population of Singapore.