A contextually relevant approach to assessing health risk behavior in a rural sub-Saharan Africa setting: The Kilifi health risk behavior questionnaire

Derrick Ssewanyana, Anneloes Van Baar, Charles R. Newton, Amina Abubakar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Health risk behavior (HRB) is of concern during adolescence. In sub-Saharan Africa, reliable, valid and culturally appropriate measures of HRB are urgently needed. This study aims at assembling and psychometrically evaluating a comprehensive questionnaire on HRB of adolescents in Kilifi County at the coast of Kenya. Methods: The Kilifi Health Risk Behavior Questionnaire (KRIBE-Q) was assembled using items on HRB identified from a systematic review and by consulting 85 young people through 11 focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with 10 key informants like teachers and employees of organizations providing various services to young people in Kilifi County. The assembled list of HRB items were back and forward translated from English to Swahili and harmonized by a panel of experts. A total of 164 adolescents completed the assembled Swahili questionnaire at baseline and two weeks later 85 of them completed the questionnaire again. A classical test theory approach was utilized for psychometric evaluation. We computed the amount of missing data at item-level to verify data quality. Scaling evaluation was assessed by spread of responses across options at an item-level. Using Gwet's AC1 coefficient, test-retest reliability was assessed using data from the 85 adolescents who answered the questionnaire twice. Observations and completion of a brief questionnaire were done for non-psychometric evaluation of the KRIBE-Q administered via audio-computer assisted self-interview (ACASI) in Swahili language to 40 adolescents. Results: The KRIBE-Q showed high data quality, good spread of responses across options and a very good test-retest reliability (Gwet's AC1 = 0.82). It comprised 8 components with acceptable test-retest reliability: behavior resulting in unintentional injury and violence (0.85); tobacco use (0.85); alcohol and drug use (0.96); sexual behaviors (0.94); dietary behaviors (0.60); physical activity (0.74); gambling (0.73); and hygiene behavior (0.89). About 96% of the adolescents found the ACASI private and easy to use. Prevalence of bullying (32%), physical fights (40%) and engagement in gambling (26%) was high. Conclusion: The KRIBE-Q assembled in this study is a psychometrically sound instrument for adolescents in rural coastal Kenya and feasible to administer via ACASI. This measure may be useful for surveys and planning interventions in similar settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number774
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Audio computer assisted self-interview
  • Health risk behavior
  • Kenya
  • Questionnaire
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Validation


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