Translating the insomnia severity index into Arabic

Khaled H. Suleiman, Bernice C. Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to translate the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) into Arabic (Fusha dialect), and obtain preliminary reliability and validity estimates for the translated version. Background: Arabic populations experience sleep problems that interfere with their vitality and quality of life. The ISI was established to screen for insomnia in both clinical and research situations. Design: This study used a descriptive correlational design. The ISI was translated into Arabic using the back-translation method and compared with three other sleep measures: the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and the Vitality Subscale from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36. These measures were administered to 35 healthy Arabic bilingual participants from three community locations. Findings: The mean ISI score was 9.2 (SD= 5.8; range 0-20). Internal consistency reliability was 0.84. The correlations between the total ISI score and the single items ranged from 0.49 to 0.92 (p < .01). In terms of convergent validity, the total ISI score showed a strong positive correlation with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index global score (r= 0.76, p < .001) and a moderate, negative correlation with vitality (r= -0.38, p=026). Conclusions: The translated ISI demonstrated adequate reliability and validity. The translated ISI needs further testing in a larger sample of both clinical and healthy Arabic populations in their own countries. Clinical Relevance: Preliminary psychometric estimates show that the translated ISI is reliable and valid in this community-dwelling Arabic sample. The translated ISI allows for Arabic researchers to screen for insomnia and plan for future intervention studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Arabic
  • Back-translation
  • ISI
  • Insomnia
  • Reliability
  • Validity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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