Symptom assessment is crucial for patient care through the entire disease trajectory. Patients often experience multiple symptoms concurrently. The symptom experience index is reliable and valid as an instrument developed in the USA for assessing multiple symptoms and distress. The aim of the study was to translate and evaluate the Chinese version of the instrument in healthy adults and oncology patients. This is a psychometric study with a cross-sectional design. To ensure the semantic equivalence and content validity, an integrative translation method was employed to translate the English version into Chinese language. The participants were recruited during 2014 from a large university, two university-affiliated hospitals and a community in Changchun, China. The Chinese version demonstrated high internal consistency, test–retest reliability and content validity. Construct validity was supported by factor analysis and significant differences of symptom experience scores between healthy and oncology groups. Participants' acceptance of the Chinese version and its ability to collect adequate data among Chinese population provided evidence for using this version among Chinese population. This study provided initial evidence to support the psychometric properties of the Chinese version. The Chinese version demonstrated adequate reliability and validity to assess multiple symptom experience by Chinese populations.
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