Translation, cross-cultural adaptation and psychometric properties of the Back Beliefs Questionnaire in Modern Standard Arabic

Dana Maki*, Ebrahim Rajab, Paul J. Watson, Duncan J. Critchley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose To translate and cross-culturally adapt the Back Beliefs Questionnaire (BBQ) into modern standard Arabic and examine its validity, acceptability and reliability in Arabic-speaking patients with low back pain (LBP). Method The BBQ was forward, back-translated and reviewed by an expert committee. Seventeen bilingual patients completed Arabic and English BBQs. LBP patients (n = 199) completed the Arabic BBQ. Sixty-four repeated it a week later, and 151 completed the Arabic Fear-avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire (FABQ). Results The expert committee followed advice from the developers to maintain Arabic equivalence of “back trouble(s)”. Patients found the questionnaire comprehensible and acceptable. Agreement between the English and Arabic versions of the BBQ was acceptable, ICC = 0.65 (0.25–0.86). Most item-by-item agreement ranged from fair to moderate (K = 0.12–0.54). Mean (SD) of BBQ, FABQ total, work and physical activity subscales were 25.31(6.13), 44.76(19.49), 21.17(10.10) and 13.95(6.65). The BBQ correlated with the FABQ at r = −0.33, work subscale r = −0.29 and physical activity r = −0.30 (all p < 0.01). Cronbach’s α = 0.73 indicated high internal consistency. Test–retest reliability was high, ICC = 0.80 (0.68–0.87). Item-by-item agreement ranged from fair to acceptable (K = 0.31–0.66). Conclusions The Arabic BBQ has good comprehensibility and acceptability, acceptable agreement with the English BBQ, high internal consistency and test–retest reliability. We recommend its use with Arabic-speaking LBP patient to determine their beliefs and attitudes about their back pain, as they have been shown to be important predictors of persistent LBP disability.Implications for RehabilitationThere are limited valid and reliable outcome measures for back pain in Arabic. The Back Beliefs Questionnaire (BBQ) is a tool that measures attitudes and beliefs about back pain.We recommend the use of our valid and reliable, translated and cross-culturally adapted tool with Arabic-speaking patients.The tool can measure attitudes and beliefs concerning the future consequences of LBP, with regards to recovery and return to work in this sample.Findings will improve back pain management options aimed at reducing back pain disability though challenging and modifying beliefs in the Middle East or with migrant populations in the West.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)272-280
    Number of pages9
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
    Issue number3
    Early online date10 Mar 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2016


    • Back pain
    • back beliefs
    • questionnaire development and validation
    • Questionnaire language
    • Translation
    • Outcomes


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