Cross-Cultural Adaptation of the Communication Assessment Tool for Use in a Simulated Clinical Setting

Sheyla Ribeiro Rocha*, Gustavo Salata Romao, Maria Silvia Velutini Setubal, Giuliane Jesus Lajos, Adriana Gomes Luz, Carlos Fernando Collares, Eliana Amaral

*Corresponding author for this work

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Construct: The Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) is a 14-item instrument developed in English to assess medical trainees’ interpersonal communication skills from the patient’s perspective in clinical settings. Background: Using validated instruments and simulated patients constitutes good practice in assessing doctor-patient communication. The CAT was designed for use in real practice, but has not yet been applied to assessing OB-GYN residents’ delivery of bad news in Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) stations. This study aims to provide validity evidence for using the CAT to assess residents’ interpersonal communication skills under difficult circumstances in a simulated clinical setting in Brazil. Approach: Crosscultural adaptation comprised translation into Portuguese, synthesis of translations, and back-translation. Next, a committee of 10 external and independent experts rated the items for linguistic equivalence and relevance to the overall scale. Researchers used the expert ratings to produce a preliminary Brazilian-Portuguese version. This version was applied by four simulated patients to assess 28 OB-GYN residents completing two, 10-minute OSCE stations focused on delivering bad news. Item and scale content validity indices and internal-consistency reliability were calculated. Simulated patients were interviewed to clarify any doubt regarding the content and usability of the tool and their response process. Findings: Thirteen of the 14 items in the Brazilian-Portuguese version were considered “equivalent” by at least 70% of the experts. All items were considered relevant by 100% of the experts. The Item Content Validity Index ranged from .9 to 1, and the Scale Content Validity Index was .99. The instrument showed good reliability for both scenarios (Cronbach’s alpha > .90). Simulated patients considered the CAT easy to understand and complete. Conclusions: This study provides validity evidence for using the Brazilian-Portuguese CAT in a simulated clinical environment to assess OB-GYN residents’ delivery of bad news. Based on this study’s findings, the OB-GYN Department organized an annual formative assessment for residents to improve their interpersonal communication skills. This version of the CAT may also be applicable to other specialties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


  • cross-cultural adaptation
  • validation
  • communication skill
  • medical education
  • clinical assessment
  • CARE

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