Adaptation and testing of an assessment for mental health and alcohol use problems among conflict-affected adults in Ukraine Andrew Rasmussen, Nuwan Jayawickreme

S. Benjamin Doty, Emily E. Haroz, Namrita S. Singh, Sergiy Bogdanov, Judith K. Bass, Laura K. Murray, Karis L. Callaway, Paul A. Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In Ukraine, a large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and veterans experience social and psychological problems as a result of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Our purpose was to develop reliable and valid instruments to screen for common mental health and alcohol use problems in these populations. Methods: We used a three-step process of instrument adaptation and testing. The instrument - the Mental Health Assessment Inventory (MHAI) - combines adapted standard screeners with items derived locally in Ukraine. A validity study was conducted using a sample of 153 adults (54% male) ages 18 years and older. All participants in the sample were IDPs or veterans living in or near the major urban areas of Kyiv and Zaporizhia. Reliability testing (internal consistency, test-retest) and validity testing (construct, criterion) of the MHAI were conducted using classical test theory. After initial testing, we used Item Response Theory (IRT) to shorten and further refine the instrument. Results: The MHAI showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability for the main outcomes: depression (α = 0.94; r =.84), post-traumatic stress (PTS; α = 0.97; r = 0.87), anxiety (α = 0.90; r = 0.80), and alcohol use (α = 0.86; r = 0.91). There was good evidence of convergent construct validity among the scales for depression, PTS, and anxiety, but not for alcohol use. Item Response Theory (IRT) analysis supported use of shortened versions of the scales for depression, PTS, and anxiety, as they retained comparable psychometric properties to the full scales of the MHAI. Conclusion: The findings support the reliability and validity of the assessment - the MHAI - for screening of common mental health problems among Ukrainian IDPs and veterans. Use of IRT shortened the instrument to improve practicality and potential sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalConflict and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018



  • Alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Internally displaced
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Reliability
  • Ukraine
  • Validity
  • Veteran

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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