The determinants of health-related quality of life in urban and rural isi-Xhosa-speaking people with disabilities Academic Article uri icon

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  • This study aimed to establish the determinants of health-related quality of life in a rural and an urban sample of Xhosa-speaking people with disability. The sample was a convenience sample and was identified through a 'snowballing' process initiated by enumerators who were all members of Disabled People South Africa. The Xhosa version of the EQ-5D was utilized and the visual analogue scale which ranges from 0 (worst imaginable health state) to 100 (best imaginable health state) was used as the dependent measure. The sample consisted of 244 rural and 61 urban respondents, demonstrating a preponderance of physical disabilities. The urban sample reported more problems in each of the descriptor domains. The visual analogue scale score showed a bimodal distribution. The results of the multiple regression analysis indicated that the presence of pain detracted most from health-related quality of life (-20%), followed by anxiety and depression (-10%), and difficulty with performance of usual activities (-10%). Rural participants, with the same impairment level, reported 8% poorer health-related quality of life. The mean visual analogue scale scores were low (in the 60s), and would indicate that the majority of people living with disability do not necessarily adapt to their functional limitations and continue to experience diminished health-related quality of life. The bimodal distribution, however, did indicate that some respondents enjoyed good health-related quality of life. There is a need to manage symptoms, particularly pain and depression, as these have a severe negative impact on health-related quality of life. The rural setting seemed to contribute to a worse perceived health-related quality of life. This effect needs to be factored in when evaluating programmes.


  • Jelsma, Jennifer
  • Maart, Soraya
  • Eide, Arne
  • Ka'Toni, Mzolisi
  • Loeb, Mark

publication date

  • June 2007