Adaptation of the Recent Life Changes Questionnaire (RLCQ) to measure stressful life events in adults residing in an urban megapolis in Pakistan.
Background: Contextually relevant stressful life events are integral to the quantification of stress. None such measures have been adapted for the Pakistani population.
Methods: The RLCQ developed by Richard Rahe measures stress of an individual through recording the experience of life changing events. We used qualitative methodology in order to identify contextually relevant stressors in an open ended format, using serial in-depth interviews until thematic saturation of reported stressful life events was achieved. In our next phase of adaptation, our objective was to scale each item on the questionnaire, so as to weigh each of these identified events, in terms of severity of stress. This scaling exercise was performed on 200 random participants residing in the four communities of Karachi namely Kharadar, Dhorajee, Gulshan and Garden. For analysis of the scaled tool, exploratory factor analysis was used to inform structuring. Finally, to complete the process of adaption, content and face validity exercises were performed. Content validity by subject expert review and face validity was performed by translation and back translation of the adapted RLCQ. This yielded our final adapted tool.
Results: Stressful life events emerging from the qualitative phase of the study reflect daily life stressors arising from the unstable socio-political environment. Some such events were public harassment, robbery/theft, missed life opportunities due to nepotism, extortion and threats, being a victim of state sponsored brutality, lack of electricity, water, sanitation, fuel, destruction due to natural disasters and direct or media based exposure to suicide bombing in the city. Personal or societal based relevant stressors included male child preference, having an unmarried middle aged daughter, lack of empowerment and respect reported by females. The finally adapted RLCQ incorporated “Environmental Stress” as a new category.
Conclusion: The processes of qualitative methodology, in depth interview, community based scaling and face and content validity yielded an adapted RLCQ that represents contextually relevant life stress for adults residing in urban Pakistan.