Measuring refugees’ capabilities: translation, adaptation, and valuation of the OxCAP-MH into Juba Arabic for use among South Sudanese male refugees in Uganda

C. F. van der Boor, D. Taban, K. Ismail, J. Simon, B. Roberts, D. Fuhr, W. A. Tol, G. Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Forcibly displaced populations are highly vulnerable to psychosocial distress and mental disorders, including alcohol misuse. In an ongoing trial that seeks to develop a transdiagnostic intervention addressing psychological distress and alcohol use disorders among conflict-affected populations, we will carry out a cost-effectiveness evaluation using a capability-based Oxford Capabilities Mental Health (OxCAP-MH) measure. The OxCAP-MH is a 16-item questionnaire developed from the Capability Approach, that covers multiple domains of functioning and welfare. The aim of the current paper is to present the results of the translation, cultural adaptation and valuation of the OxCAP-MH into Juba Arabic for South Sudanese refugees living in Uganda. We adhered to the official Translation and Linguistic Validation process of the OxCAP-MH. To carry out the translation, the Concept Elaboration document, official English version of the OxCAP-MH, and the Back-Translation Review Template were used. Four independent translators were used for forward and back translations. The reconciled translated version was then piloted in two focus group discussions (N = 16) in Rhino refugee settlement. A most important to least important valuation of the sixteen capability domains covered in the OxCAP-MH was also done. Results: The Juba Arabic version of the OxCAP-MH was finalized following a systematic iterative process. The content of the Juba Arabic version remained unchanged, but key concepts were adapted to ensure cultural acceptability, feasibility, and comprehension of the measure in the local context of Rhino refugee settlement. Most participants had low levels of literacy and required support with filling in the tool. Participants suggested an additional capability that is currently not reflected in the OxCAP-MH, namely access to food. Furthermore, discussions around the valuation exercise of the sixteen domains led to two separate importance scales, which showed relevant differences. Conclusions: In this context, the OxCAP-MH was considered culturally acceptable. The valuation exercise proved cognitively demanding. Participants voiced confusion over how to answer the questions on the OxCAP-MH instrument due to low levels of literacy. These concerns invite consideration for future research to consider how measures such as the OxCAP-MH can be made more accessible to individuals with low literacy rates in resource poor settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number40
JournalJournal of Patient-Reported Outcomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Capability approach
  • Mental health
  • Refugees
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics


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