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Development and validation protocol for an instrument to measure household water insecurity across cultures and ecologies: the Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale

18 Jan 2019


A wide range of water-related problems contribute to the global burden of disease. Despite the many plausible consequences for health and well-being, there is no validated tool to measure individual- or household-level water insecurity equivalently across varying cultural and ecological settings. Accordingly, we are developing the Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale to measure household-level water insecurity in multiple contexts.

Methods and analysis

After domain specification and item development, items were assessed for both content and face validity. Retained items are being asked in surveys in 28 sites globally in which water-related problems have been reported (eg, shortages, excess water and issues with quality), with a target of at least 250 participants from each site. Scale development will draw on analytic methods from both classical test and item response theories and include item reduction and factor structure identification. Scale evaluation will entail assessments of reliability, and predictive, convergent, and discriminant validity, as well as the assessment of differentiation between known groups.

Ethics and dissemination

Study activities received necessary ethical approvals from institutional review bodies relevant to each site. We anticipate that the final HWISE Scale will be completed by late 2018 and made available through open-access publication. Associated findings will be disseminated to public health professionals, scientists, practitioners and policymakers through peer-reviewed journals, scientific presentations and meetings with various stakeholders. Measures to quantify household food insecurity have transformed policy, research and humanitarian aid efforts globally, and we expect that an analogous measure for household water insecurity will be similarly impactful.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open