5 Quality of Life Questionnaires and Assessments

Quality of Life QuestionnairesIf someone were to ask you to rate your quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you answer?

More importantly, what aspects of your life would you be considering as you were selecting your rating?

If you’re unsure, you are not alone.

There are many scholarly schools of thought regarding assessment of a person’s quality of life. Consequently, there are many meanings for the term which can refer to attitudes across several domains, including health, physical functioning, the family environment, and more (Gill & Feinstein, 1994).

This article will offer a brief review of quality-of-life definitions, explore the concept’s applicability in the context of positive psychology, and outline five useful questionnaires to apply in practice.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download three Meaning and Valued Living Exercises for free. These creative, science-based exercises will help you learn more about your values, motivations and goals and will give you the tools to inspire a sense of meaning in the lives of your clients, students or employees.

What is Quality of Life?

There is substantial debate in the literature about what is meant by the term “quality of life” (QOL), and there are several factors both in research and practice that drive this ambiguity.

First, researchers often cannot define what they mean when they refer to the term QOL. Indeed, in a comprehensive review of 75 articles on the topic, only 11 (15%) defined the concept before proceeding with their investigation (Gill & Feinstein, 1994).

A second issue is that people will vary regarding what they deem important for a quality life. For instance, one person may feel that a strong network of close relationships is necessary for a quality life. In contrast, another person may be inclined to forego such relationships in favor of personally meaningful activities or accomplishments, such as creative pursuits or professional advancement (Liu, 1976).

Finally, there is an overlap between the notions of QOL and life satisfaction, which researchers are still struggling to tease apart (Landesman, 1986).


4 Approaches to Defining Quality of Life

To address the above-mentioned challenges, Felce and Perry (1995) summarized four approaches to defining QOL.

First, QOL can be thought of as the sum of a range of objectively measurable life conditions. That is, a person’s QOL across a range of domains (e.g., social relationships, physical health, personal circumstances, etc.) is determined numerically and then compared against a larger population distribution.

A second approach is to define QOL as a person’s satisfaction with the sum of these life conditions. The difference between this and the first approach is that personal welfare is based on a subjective reaction to life conditions, rather than how a person’s standing on these conditions compares numerically to others in a broader population.

Another approach is to define QOL as a combination of both objective life conditions and satisfaction with those conditions (Brown, Bayer, & MacFarlane, 1989)–essentially a combination of the approaches above.

A fourth and final approach, forwarded by Cummins (1992), conceptualizes QOL as an objective assessment of life conditions and subjective assessment of satisfaction, weighted according to the significance an individual places on each particular domain.

To illustrate with an example, one might consider the role of income level and how it may affect (a) quality of life conditions and (b) life satisfaction. Regarding (a), income size may be critical in contexts where one’s welfare is dictated by annual salary, such as in countries without strong social welfare systems. In this example, the size of income would be weighted highly as a factor influencing the quality of life conditions.

However, to a fairly non-materialistic person who has sufficient income to meet their basic needs, income size may only be a small contributor to life satisfaction (b). In this situation, income would have a small weighting regarding this second, satisfaction-related component of QOL (Felce & Perry, 1995).

Overall, this final approach to defining QOL is considered the strongest, as it is the only one that ranks and applies weightings to the importance different people place on aspects of their life situation (Felce & Perry, 1995).


The Relevance of Quality of Life to Positive Psychology

What is quality of lifeThe notion of QOL is particularly relevant in the field of positive psychology.

The concept regards several aspects of personal welfare and wellbeing, and a person’s attitudes toward various life circumstances and domains.

Likewise, positive psychology practitioners are often concerned with people’s wellbeing and their satisfaction when assessing the different domains of their life.

These domains can include:

  • Mental and physical wellbeing;
  • Relationships with other people;
  • Social, community, and civic activities;
  • Personal development and fulfillment; and
  • Recreation and fun.

We can think about the overlap between QOL and positive psychology by considering QOL’s overlap with features of Martin Seligman’s PERMA model.

The PERMA model is one of the key theories underlying the field of positive psychology, representing the five key domains in which a person may experience psychological wellbeing and happiness.

Among these, Seligman lists domains such as Relationships, characterized by authentic connection, and Achievement, characterized by a sense of accomplishment in one’s activities.

It is clear to see that domains such as these, mirror several of the domains in which a person may rate their QOL. Therefore, there may be value in using QOL measures to tap into the various dimensions of positive psychology models such as PERMA.


How Can We Measure Quality of Life?

According to a review by Gill and Feinstein (1994), there are at least 150 instruments in existence to measure QOL. These scales can take a variety of different forms.

Some investigators, particularly in the medical context, will apply a single-item assessment of QOL. An example may be an item such as “What is your quality of life?”

While commonly used, a weakness of such measures is that they do not tap into specific domains nor the relative importance people place on these domains.

In line with this, many researchers present a series of items (known as an instrument or index) to assess QOL. They will then arrive at a final score for QOL by taking an average of these items.

Sometimes, such instruments may contain several subscales that tap into QOL across various domains, such as relationships, living conditions, professional life, and so forth. In this situation, the person administering the different subscales then has two options for presenting the final scores (Gill & Feinstein, 1994).

The first option is to present the results of each of the subscales individually, forming a kind of profile. In this, the respondent will receive feedback on how they fare on each of the individual subscales, perhaps using a radar chart or series of bar graphs.

The second option is to take an average of the respondent’s total scores across all the subscales to create a single composite score representing overall QOL.

The approach you choose in practice should balance both the recommendations of scale creators and your clients’ needs.


5 Quality of Life Assessments

QOL AssessmentsNow that you have a basic understanding of QOL, let’s look at five useful questionnaires you can apply in practice.

These scales will vary in specificity, such that some drill down to assessing QOL in different domains, while others will serve as a more concise, global assessment.


1. The Quality of Life Scale (Flanagan, 1978)

Flanagan’s (1978) Quality of Life Scale (QOLS) is one of the most widely used QOL assessments, applied predominantly in the healthcare sector.

In developing the QOLS, Flanagan began by collecting responses to interview questions from 3,000 Americans, representing a broad range of ages, races, and backgrounds. In doing so, he aimed to pin down a definition of QOL as it related to a person’s different life domains.

Several questions were asked, but among them, participants were asked to recall life events that were especially satisfying to them or times when they witnessed harmful events that could detract from a person’s QOL.

These responses were filtered down to fifteen quality-of-life components (or domains), each represented by one item, using an inductive process.

Later, Burckhardt, Woods, Schultz, and Ziebarth (1989) added a sixteenth item, reflecting the notion of independence, or being able to care for oneself, after qualitative evidence indicated that this was important to particular subpopulations (e.g., the chronically ill).

For each item, respondents indicate their satisfaction across each of the 16 domains on 7-point scales, where 1 equals ‘terrible’ and 7 equals ‘delighted’.

The 16 domains are as follows:

Higher-order domain: Physical and material wellbeing

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Material wellbeing and financial security Having good food, home, possessions, comforts, and expectations of these for the future.
Health and personal safety Freedom from sickness, physical and mental fitness, avoiding accidents and health hazards. Availability of effective health treatment.


Higher-order domain: Relations with other people

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Relations with spouse/partner Being married/having a loving companion, sexual satisfaction, effective communication, and devotion.
Having and raising children Becoming a parent, watching children develop, and enjoying spending time with one’s children.
Relations with parents, siblings, or other relatives The presence of relatives with whom one feels belonging. Enjoying spending time with and visiting such relations.
Relations with friends Having close friends with whom one shares activities, interests and views. Friendships are characterized by trust, support, love, and acceptance.


Higher-order domain: Social, Community, and Civic Activities

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Activities related to helping or encouraging other people Efforts as an individual or as a member of a group (e.g., a church) to help others beyond one’s network of friends/relatives.
Activities related to local and national governments Voting, staying informed through the media, having political, social and religious freedoms.


Higher-order domain: Personal Development and Fulfillment

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Intellectual development Education access, ongoing mental stimulation/challenges, opportunities to improve problem-solving ability, comprehension, etc., in or outside of school.
Personal understanding and planning The presence of guiding principles in one’s life. Developing maturity, personal growth, agency over decisions and one’s life-course (sometimes involving religious or spiritual experiences).
Occupational role Interesting, worthwhile work at home or in one’s formal job. Being recognized for accomplishments and feeling competent at one’s tasks.
Creativity and personal expression Expressing oneself or applying one’s imagination via artistic pursuits, such as writing, drama, music, etc.


Higher-order domain: Recreation

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Socializing Meeting new people, participating in social group activities, hosting/attending events.
Passive and observational recreational activities Appreciating passive or relaxed recreational activities, such as reading, media, or sports events.
Active and participatory recreational activities Enjoying active recreational activities, such as travel, sports, nature activities, games, artistic activities, etc.


Higher-order domain: Independence

Lower-level Domain Defining Features
Independence, doing for yourself Remaining independent and being able to care for oneself, which is particularly relevant among populations with chronic illness.


A copy of the full scale with scoring instructions can be accessed from the clinical assessment platform ePROVIDE. You can also access a convenient version of the scale, ready to administer to your clients, directly through our Positive Psychology Toolkit.

Regarding reliability and validity, the QOLS has been shown to be reliable and internally consistent across several studies (see Burckhardt & Anderson, 2003; Burckhardt, Anderson, Archenholtz, & Hägg, 2003), suggesting the scale can be confidently applied in research and practical settings.


2. McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire — Expanded (Cohen et al., 2019)

Published in 1996, the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire (MQOL) was designed to assess the QOL of patients facing life-threatening illnesses. Today, the questionnaire is used extensively in palliative care research.

While the original scale comprised only four dimensions, Cohen and colleagues’ (2019) expanded version includes eight to better assess the domains that people nearing the end of their life report as important to their QOL.

Unlike the QOLS, several of the domains in the MQOL-Expanded (MQOL-E) are assessed using multiple items. The response anchors for the subscales vary by item but are always on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 to 10.

Example items from each of the subscales (and their scale anchors) are as follows:

Subscale Example Item Minimum Scale Anchor (0) Maximum Scale Anchor (10)
Physical My physical symptoms (such as pain, nausea, tiredness and others) were: No problem A tremendous problem
Psychological I was depressed: Not at all Extremely
Existential My life was: Utterly meaningless and without purpose Very purposeful and meaningful
Social Communication with the people I care about was: Difficult Very easy
Environment My physical environment met my needs: Not at all Completely
Cognition I was able to think clearly: Seldom Always
Health Care Getting the information I needed from the health care team was: Difficult Very easy
Burden I felt badly about how my situation affected the people I care for: Not at all Completely


A copy of the full scale can be found in the original article, published in the journal BMC Palliative Care.

The publishers of the MQOL-E found sufficient evidence for the internal consistency of the scale, as well as its factor structure across the eight identified domains.

While these findings are promising, the authors acknowledge that there is more work to do to confirm the test-retest reliability of the scale, its convergent and discriminant validity, as well as measurement invariance when administering the scale in different languages (Cohen et al., 2019).


3. Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire (CDC, 2000)

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) can be defined as:

… aspects of overall quality of life that can be clearly shown to affect health–either physical or mental.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2000, p. 6)

The HRQOL Questionnaire combines three separate modules to assess perceptions of HRQOL. It is widely used by health professionals and was designed to bridge the gap between disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, and economics, about the drivers of QOL. It is for this reason that the questionnaire is fairly broad in its focus.

Rather than consisting of subscales, this questionnaire is made up of three modules. With this questionnaire, practitioners may choose to employ only the modules relevant to their clients.

The first module is a compact and validated set of four items to assess HRQOL broadly. These items, referred to as the Core Healthy Days Measures, were designed to be broadly applicable across a range of populations.

An example item from Module 1 is: “Would you say that in general your health is…” with responses ranging from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

The second module is called the Activity Limitations Module, which assesses physical, mental, or emotional problems a person may face in their daily life.

The module begins by asking: “Are you limited in any way in any activities because of any impairment or health problem?”

If the respondent indicates ‘yes,’ he or she will be prompted to continue the module, which goes on to assess the nature of the impairment, the duration of time that the impairment has exerted limitations, and whether or not the respondent requires additional support in terms of personal care or maintenance of routine as a result of their impairment.

The final module is called the Healthy Days Symptoms Module. This module assesses how factors such as pain, depression and anxiety symptoms, insufficient sleep, and energy levels have affected functioning over the past 30 days.

Several studies have been published evidencing the validity of the HRQOL. To summarize, numerical responses have been found to be internally consistent and reliable.

Responses have also been shown to correlate as expected with other established measures related to health, such as the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (Andresen, 1999; Newschaffer, 1998), thereby evidencing convergent validity.

Research has also demonstrated that the scale can predict physical and mental wellness (CDC, 2000), evidencing predictive validity.


4. World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument (WHO, 2012)

Another trustworthy measure of QOL has been developed by The World Health Organization (WHO). The instrument is called the WHOQOL-BREF.

The WHO defines QOL as:

… an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.

WHO, 2012, p. 11

The WHOQOL-BREF is widely used for comparing indices of QOL across cultures. It is for this reason that the scale is available in over 40 languages.

The instrument assesses QOL in the context of six domains:

  1. Physical health
  2. Psychological health
  3. Level of Independence
  4. Social relationships
  5. Environment
  6. Spirituality/Religion/Personal beliefs

The instrument also contains several items assessing general health.

The response anchors for the subscales vary by item but are always on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 to 5.

A copy of the full scale can be accessed by completing a user’s agreement at the University of Washington’s website.

Regarding reliability and validity, the publishers of the scale field-tested the WHOQOL-BREF with a diverse sample of approximately 4,500 people, drawn from WHO’s centers worldwide.

Based on this sample, the researchers found evidence for internal consistency, discriminant validity, content validity, and test-retest reliability, suggesting that the scale is suitable for use with populations across various cultures.


5. Global Quality of Life Scale (1996)

Finally, for an ultra-succinct and fascinating approach to assessing QOL, take a look at Hyland and Sodergren’s Global QOL scale.

Rather than adopting a multi-dimensional (or multi-domain) approach like several of the questionnaires above, Hyland and Sodergren (1996) argued that respondents can mentally apply their own weighting system when assessing the various facets of their life.

In doing so, they can make an overall judgment about their QOL by indicating a number on a scale ranging from 100-0, where 100 is labeled ‘Perfect quality of life,’ and 0 is labeled ‘Might as well be dead’.

Eight additional labels are positioned along the scale as follows:

  • 95 = Near perfect quality of life
  • 85 = Very good quality of life
  • 70 = Good quality of life
  • 57.5 = Moderately good quality of life
  • 40 = Somewhat bad quality of life
  • 27.5 = Bad quality of life
  • 15 = Very bad quality of life
  • 5 = Extremely bad quality of life

For a useful visual representation, take a look at Figure 1 (H4) in Hyland and Sodergren’s original article, published in the journal, Quality of Life Research.


How to Select the Best QOL Assessment

QOLAs noted, there are at least 150 measures assessing QOL in existence (Gill & Feinstein, 1994).

Therefore, it is essential to do your research when selecting a scale to suit your needs as each scale will have different strengths, weaknesses, and psychometric properties.

In many cases, scholars will lean toward choosing scales that are highly cited in reputable journals when designing research. While this approach may serve as a good rule of thumb, selecting a measure of QOL requires an extra level of due diligence.

For instance, QOL scales will differ in whether they are appropriate for longitudinal clinical trials versus cross-sectional research.

You will also want to choose a scale that avoids what is known as floor and ceiling effects. A floor effect is a problem in your data that occurs when most of your subjects score near the bottom of a scale. Likewise, ceiling effects are present in data when the majority of respondents score near the top of a scale.

The trouble with either of these distributional characteristics is that your data will contain limited variance. Put differently, your respondents will not have differed very much in how they have responded to your scale.

If you are planning on comparing scores between different populations, or groups who have been exposed to different interventions, this may be a problem.

For a comprehensive guide on selecting the best QOL questionnaire for your needs, take a look at Hyland’s (2003) Brief Guide to the Selection of QOL Instrument, published in the journal, Health, and Quality of Life Outcomes.


A Take-Home Message

Hopefully, you now have a better sense of how you might rate your own QOL and some of the domains you’ll want to consider when selecting an appropriate rating.

While, at face value, the term “quality of life” may seem a little general, you as a researcher or practitioner have the option to drill down to whatever level of domain specificity you want, depending on the assessment tool you decide to employ.

More importantly, by applying one of the assessments above, you will gain a better insight into the effect that factors like pain, illness, or mental health conditions may have on your clients’ daily functioning. And this knowledge will empower you to better tailor the support you provide to better their quality of life.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Meaning and Valued Living Exercises for free.

If you wish to learn more, our Meaning and Valued Living Masterclass© will help you understand the science behind meaning and valued living, inspire you to connect to your values on a deeper level and make you an expert in fostering a sense of meaning in the lives of your clients, students or employees.

  • Andresen, E. M., Fouts, B. S., Romeis, J. C., & Brownson, C. A. (1999). Performance of health-related quality-of-life instruments in a spinal cord injured population. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 80(8), 877-884.
  • Brown, R. I., Bayer, M. B., & MacFarlane, C. M. (1989). Rehabilitation programmes: The performance and quality of life of adults with developmental handicaps. Toronto: Lugus Productions Ltd.
  • Burckhardt, C. S., & Anderson, K. L. (2003). The Quality of Life Scale (QOLS): reliability, validity, and utilization. Health and quality of life outcomes, 1, 60.
  • Burckhardt, C. S., Anderson, K. L., Archenholtz, B., & Hägg, O. (2003). The Flanagan quality of life scale: Evidence of construct validity. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1(59), 1-7.
  • Burckhardt, C. S., Woods, S. L., Schultz, A. A., & Ziebarth, D. M. (1989). Quality of life of adults with chronic illness: A psychometric study. Research in Nursing & Health, 12(6), 347-354.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2000). Measuring healthy days: Population assessment of health-related quality of life. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/pdfs/mhd.pdf
  • Cohen, S. R., Russell, L. B., Leis, A., Shahidi, J., Porterfield, P., Kuhl, D. R., … & Sawatzky, R. (2019). More comprehensively measuring quality of life in life-threatening illness: The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire–Expanded. BMC Palliative Care, 18(92), 1-11.
  • Cummins, R. A. (1992). Comprehensive quality of life scale: Intellectual disability (3rd ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Psychology Research Centre.
  • Felce, D., & Perry, J. (1995). Quality of life: Its definition and measurement. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 16(1), 51-74.
  • Flanagan, J. C. (1978). A research approach to improving our quality of life. American Psychologist, 33(2), 138-147.
  • Gill, T. M., & Feinstein, A. R. (1994). A critical appraisal of the quality of quality-of-life measurements. Jama, 272(8), 619-626.
  • Hyland, M. E. (2003). A brief guide to the selection of quality of life instrument. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 1(24), 1-5.
  • Landesman, S., Jaccard, J., & Gunderson, V. (1991). The family environment: The combined influence of family behaviour, goals, strategies, resources and individual experiences. In M. Lewis & S. Feinman (Eds.), Social influences and socialization in infancy (pp. 63-96). New York, NY: Plenum.
  • Liu, B. C. (1976). Quality of life indicators in U.S. metropolitan areas: A statistical analysis. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers.
  • Newschaffer, C. J. (1998). Validation of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) HRQOL measures in a statewide sample. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • World Health Organization (WHO). (2012). WHOQOL User Manual. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/toolkits/whoqol

About the Author

Nicole is a behavioral scientist and writer based in Perth, Western Australia. Her research interests lie at the intersection between wellbeing, personal energy, and positive psychology, and her work appears in several top business journals, including the Journal of Organizational Behavior.


  1. Beena Yadav

    I am a university Professor. My Ph D student wants to study the impact of old age pension on quality of life of age women. Which scale / questionnaire she should use?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Beena,

      This is another instance where I’d suggest using the WHOQOL-BREF — you’ll see it’s been used in a similar study about the impact of pensions on QOL here in Gonçalves et al. (2013).

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  2. Sanjaik

    Hello madam. I’m a first year college student.
    For assessing qol in health workers those who used ppe kit which criteria questionnaire will be beneficial for a cross sectional study . Can i do this kind of survey on qol those who used ppe previously only or currently using?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Sanjaik,

      Thank you for your question. Could you please clarify what a PPE kit is in this context? That way I should be able to point you in the right direction. And is your research specifically focused on these worker’s QOL in terms of physical health, mental health, happiness (or all).

      – Nicole | Community Manager


    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you for this article. I had to conduct a QIL survey among leukemia patients. After some literature review, I was thinking of using the FACT-G survey when I came upon this article. This article hasn’t listed FACT-G. What would you suggest as a good survey for me to conduct?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi there,

      You’re very welcome 🙂 For a study looking at QOL among samples of leukemia patients, the FACT-G actually seems very appropriate. It’s widely used among a range of populations, has been revised several times, and has undergone tests for reliability and validity — so I would stick with your original choice!

      As noted, there are over 100 measures of QOL out there, so it would be tricky to have covered all of these in depth. Likewise, they are often specific to particular samples (such as specific clinical populations), so it would have been tough to cover them all. Nonetheless, more than just the five explored here are reliable and valid.

      Good luck with your survey!

      – Nicole | Community Manager


        Thank you so much. I saw ur reply only now. Sorry for posting the comment again.
        Appreciate your patience to reply every comment.

  4. Shraddha Sambhaji Kamble

    Can you suggest a QOL scale? We are doing a research on QOL of health care workers during pandemic..

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Shraddha,

      Recent studies on healthcare workers during the pandemic (e.g., Woon et al., 2021) have used the WHOQOL-BREF. It’s very versatile and tends to be my go-to recommendation 🙂

      – Nicole | Community Mangaer

  5. Riju Abraham

    Hi, from India. I am final year student of MSW . For my research work I need to collect data about Quality of Life of the Caregivers of Children with Mental Disabilities. It will be much appreciated and would be a big help for me in completing my work. Thank you.

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Riju,

      Sounds like an interesting project! I’d suggest the WHOQOL-BREF, which has been used in a study assessing the effect of caregiver’s burden on QOL in a study by Kim et al. 2010.

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  6. Shyra M.

    I’m an undergraduate student in the field of psychology, and I’m hoping to conduct a research on the quality of life of migrants in UAE. I was asked to have a minimum of 60 participants, but I am not sure how I must categorize and choose them as UAE has such a vast and varied expat population. Please advice on what I can do and the most suitable QOL assessment for this purpose.

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Shyra,

      The WHOQOL-BREF (discussed in the article), is a broadly applicable scale that is suitable for use with diverse populations. It’s also been used in studies of migrants before (see Zabeer et al., 2019), so this scale may be a good candidate for your research.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  7. Pratiksha Lama

    Your article is usefull enough but i want to assess the knowledge of people regarding impact of alcohol consumption on quality of life…. Can you please help me

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Pratiksha,

      Are you interested in alcohol consumption from a medical/abuse perspective (e.g., alcohol use disorders) or more moderate drinking? If the former, perhaps check out the scale used by Dawson et al. (2009). They appear to use the SF-12 QOL scale. If the latter, at face value, a more general QOL scale, like WHOQOL-BREF, might be appropriate.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  8. Molly Agarwal

    I am a third-year college student aiming to assess the quality of life among 30 people or so in the age group of 18-90. Instead of using a questionnaire is it advisable that I combine the questions from 2/3 questionnaires to make my own questionnaire? Will that reduce the effectiveness of my research paper? Kindly answer as soon as you can

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Molly,

      If you combine items across scales, most researchers would recommend conducting some tests to ensure the final set of items is valid and reliable. This might include factor analyses for example. You can find guidelines for conducting these tests in Robert DeVellis’ book and in Hinkin’s (1995) article.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  9. Ray

    Hi, I am interested in assessing quality of life among members of an online community, precisely how participation in that community affects their perceived quality of life. Which scale do you suggest? Thank you

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Ray,

      Could you please provide a little more information about the type of community and its purpose? I.e., is it a community that empowers people to look after their health better, help people feel less lonely, have fun playing online games, etc.?

      Knowing this, I should be able to recommend a scale that taps into the correct sort of need (i.e., relatedness, health, etc.) because there are so many different QOL scales, all of which focus on slightly different areas of life 🙂

      – Nicole | Community manager

      • Ray

        Sure, it’s a self-development community that aims to empower individuals and to create safe environment for growth and learning.. 🙂

        • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

          Hi Ray,

          Thanks for the info! In that case, I’d suggest taking a look at the SWED-QUAL which has been used in a self-development context by Fernros et al. (2005). Alternatively, you might consider the PERMA-Profiler, which I think isn’t strictly a measure of QOL but has been used to assessing flourishing as a type of QOL flowing from online community participation (see Bae et al., 2020). This seems particularly relevant given your project is about self-development.

          Hope this helps!

          – Nicole | Community Manager

  10. Rosie

    May I humbly ask, if I was able to fill up the necessary informations on the link you provided for the user agreement of WHOQOL-BREF, how will I know if I am allowed to use the questionnaire? Will they notify me? Or can I just download the documents and use it for research purposes? Thank you

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Rosie,

      Once you fill in the information, you instantly gain access to the questionnaire via download — there’s no wait time 🙂

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  11. elene

    hi im doing research on perception and impact analysis of quality of life during covid 19 pandemic to urban poor society. i would like to ask what is the best way to measure qol? i think whoqol is the best. is it correct?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Elene,

      Yes, if you’re looking to assess QOL in general, I generally tend to recommend the WHOQOL as it’s a good all-rounder and widely used in research. 🙂

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  12. Nina

    Hi, I’m Nina from third-year nutrition student. I would like to ask if you can recommend an assessment for qualify of life regarding intermittent fasting. Can you give some explanation for your answer?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Nina,

      That’s a tricky question! Corley et al. (2018) conducted a study that assessed QOL among intermittent fasters with diabetes, and they used the Audit of Diabetes-Dependent Quality of Life scale by Turk et al. (2013). While this scale apparently includes two general overview questions about QOL, the others are about the impact of diabetes specifically and may be too specific for what you need. I’d still check it out though. Another suggestion would be to search “‘quality of life’ dieting” in Google Scholar, and you’ll find some other studies assessing QOL and dieting behaviors in the same study, which should state the QOL measures they’ve used, enabling you to dig further.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  13. adzmel

    Hi. What could be the theories that can be used to assess quality of life among older persons who are poor and received financial assistance? And which instruments that can be used to measure their quality of life?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Adzmel,

      The WHOQOL-BREF is widely used in studies with older populations (e.g., see Tel, 2013) and tends to be a good well-rounded option. Another option may be the Comprehensive Quality of Life scale used by Butler and Ciarrochi (2007).

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  14. Kevin Mutefunya Rwegoshola

    Hello, I am First year student in Clinical Research. I am interested in assessing quality among physical disabled students in secondary schools. Which tool could be good to adapt?

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Kevin,

      You might find the Activity Limitations module of the Health-Related Quality of Life Questionnaire (CDC, 2000) achieves what you are looking to do. The module begins by asking: “Are you limited in any way in any activities because of any impairment or health problem?” (you could alter the wording to say ‘disability’ or something else).

      The module then goes on to assess the nature of the impairment, the duration of time that the impairment has exerted limitations, and whether or not the respondent requires additional support in terms of personal care or maintenance of routine as a result of their impairment.

      I hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  15. Carli

    I am looking for the OSTQOL scale and though I have searched and searched all I find are articles that talk about the development or the use of the tool. I am searching for the template to conduct Masters research.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Carli,

      I’ve taken a look at the original paper and it appears as though the items are not listed. Your best bet will probably be to contact the corresponding author of the paper, Lisa Strada (L.strada@uke.de).

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  16. Morgan Taylor

    I am interested in conducting a QOL survey of patients with thyroid eye disease, a rare condition. There is a scale but not validated in the US. Are there scales that can be used?

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Morgan,

      Although it’s a little dated, you will find a list of all QOL instruments in Gill and Feinstein’s (1995) article (see Table 2). I’d also check out the scale in this article by Fayers & Dolman (2011) to see if it would apply (looks promising at face value).

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  17. Joh Eric Rosales

    Hi! I am conducting a study on the Quality of Life of students engaged in Online and Distance Learning. As you see, due to the effects of the pandemic many schools worldwide had suddenly shifted from face-to-face class to online classes and students are having difficulty adapting to such sudden change even the faculty is affected.

    Would like to ask if there is an existing tool that measures the above-mentioned topic? Would appreciate your reply. Thanks!

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Joh,

      On another post, I have recommended the AR-30 scale (which stands for ‘academic resilience’) for research on how students are coping with changes to learning during COVID-19. It’s broadly applicable to a range of disruptions to academic life, and I believe it may have already been used in some published research regarding COVID’s impact. You can read about that scale in our post on the topic of resilience measures here.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  18. Samuel L. Shafer

    Hello. My score is 9.

    I have a worthless life, and I wish I could kill myself.

    Is there any reason to live with a score this low

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      If you are struggling with severe symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the following number in your respective country:

      USA: National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255;
      UK: Samaritans hotline at 116 123;
      The Netherlands: Netherlands Suicide Hotline at 09000767;
      France: Suicide écoute at 01 45 39 40 00;
      Australia: Lifeline at 13 11 14
      Germany: Telefonseelsorge at 0800 111 0 111 for Protestants, 0800 111 0 222 for Catholics, and 0800 111 0 333 for children and youth.

      For a list of other suicide prevention websites, phone numbers, and resources, see this website. [Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines%5D

      Please know that there are people out there who care and that there are treatments that can help.

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  19. Brix Digal

    Hello, I was wondering if the WHOQOL-BREF has a parameter for score interpretation? Like for a specific score and above, it would mean that the individual’s quality of life is great or something. Most of the tools I’ve seen doesn’t have a parameter but my dissertation requires a parameter for the tool. Thank you!

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Brix,

      Thank you for your question. As you’ve noticed, it’s rare for these sorts of subjective assessments to have these established cut-offs/parameters. This is more common for tools used for clinical diagnoses. However, if the WHOQOL-BREF has these parameters, you should be able to find the information by signing the users agreement here to get a copy of the scale and all the associated documentation.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  20. Maree Maxfield

    Hi, Thanks for the article.
    You say that “There are over 1,000 instruments that are currently designed to measure the quality of life according to Ubel, Loewenstein and Jepson (2003)”. Can you please tell me what part of that article states this. I would like to use that statistic in my background piece but I can’t find reference to it in the article by Ubel and colleagues. Thanks.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Maree,

      We’re in the process of revising this article and agree that this isn’t stated by Ubel and colleagues. As an alternative, you might want to cite Gill & Feinstein (1994), who identify 159 different scales used among the various papers they review (see Table 2 in the paper). 🙂

      Hope this helps, and our apologies for the mistake!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  21. Susan L

    What classifies as high, low, and medium scores on the construct for Flanagan’s Quality of Life Scale?

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Susan,

      That’s a tricky question! I’d suggest directing it to the corresponding author of the paper who may have some data on population norms, etc. You can find the contact address here.

      Good luck!

      – Nicole | Community Manager


    Good evening I am doing a study on “develop and validate QOL tool for children diagnosed with epilepsy”. Almost i collected data and tool is finalised. But I am confused about how to decide the range of scale like good qol and poor qol….Eg score 70 and above good Qol while score below 45 is poor qol

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Vipin,

      Thank you for your question. If you are designing a new scale from scratch, it may be difficult to identify what classifies as high, low, and medium scores on the construct. Likewise, you may need to compare scores against a baseline population (i.e., among children not diagnosed with epilepsy) to identify these values.

      Ultimately, there’s no universally agreed upon approach that I’m aware of. I’d have a read of this thread to get some ideas.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  23. Piyush Deurkar

    Dear Ma’am,
    Could you suggest a me, specific instrument to measure the quality of life among general population in the pandemic.
    Thank you.

    • HS Dhaliwal

      Dear ma’am,
      We want to measure the mental QoL in patients being planned for endoscopy in this Covid pandemic. As you might know, endoscopy is a high risk procedure, as far as the spread of this virus is concerned for both the patients and the doctors.
      Can u please suggest which scale or tool to be used for this purpose??
      Thank you.

      • Nicole Celestine

        Hi HS and Piyush,
        There’s been a real explosion of research on the impacts of COVID-19, so I’d expect to see some scales coming out in research soon, but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. In the meantime, I’d check out this paper. These scholars have adapted quality of life indicators from a scale administered in the context of the SARS outbreak, which may help you (see ref. 12 in the article).
        Hope this helps!
        – Nicole | Community Manager

    • Rabbit

      No! sorry for the inconvenience

  24. savithri

    Could you suggest a specific instrument to assess the quality of life among health care workers Thank you

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Savithri,
      I would take a look at this paper by Teles et al. (2014) to see what scale they used in their study of primary healthcare workers. Perhaps then you can adapt it for your own research. Hope this helps!
      – Nicole | Community Manager

    • Lessoued

      Good evening
      Thank you for this very interesting and very explanatory article.
      my question for you: how can I integrate other variables such as the image of the body of women in the scale of quality of life.

      • Nicole Celestine

        Hi Lessoued,

        Rather than blending the items within scales (which is generally not recommended by scholars), I’d suggest administering a separate scale about body image. There is a body dissatisfaction subscale in the EDI-3 which is widely used and may be suitable for you needs. Alternatively, do a search for papers on the topic of body image in Google Scholar and see what scales they have used. 🙂

        Hope this helps!

        – Nicole | Community Manager

  25. David Stanley Mazengo

    I am a resident doing Mmed Obgy.l’m doing research on quality of life in pregnant women living with HIV who r are on treatments(ART).l’m using WHO QOL HIV BREF tool. But l want to access some variables which can also influence qol of preg women living with HIV who are on ART.those variable are economic status,parity,grvidity,seroststus of the spouse,alcohol,smoking.is there a questionnaire which can assess those variables? And how can I get it?

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi David,
      My suggestion would be to do a search in Google Scholar for each of the individual variables you are interested in and search through papers to find the scales that past researchers have used (e.g., using terms like ‘economic status scale’). Finding scales like this can take some time but will allow you to explore the different possible options (as there will be many).
      Good luck!
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  26. Herculene van Staden

    Good day
    I am part of a task team to determine the Quality of Life/burnout of occupational therapists (including students and academia) in South Africa.
    What is the best tool/questionnaire to use in this regard?
    Kind regards

  27. Moyal-Barracco

    What would be the best questionnaire to measure quality of life in postmenopausal women suffering from dyspareunia.
    Sexual questionnaire will be used, of course but I think it is worth considering adding a QOL questionnaire.
    All my best

  28. Jemerson

    Could you suggest a specific instrument on quality or life and self-image/concept/esteem that could be used for Asian culture. Thanks

    • Leslie Riopel

      Good afternoon,
      I did find a Chinese Quality of Life Assessment and a link to a PubMed article about it. The Chinese Quality of Life Instrument (ChQOL) is a self-reported health status instrument. To quote the article’s conclusion:
      “In conclusion, the study indicated that the ChQOL is conceptually valid with satisfactory psychometric properties. It can provide additional information on health and QOL on top of the existing generic health related QOL measures. Furthermore, it forms basis for further testing and applications in clinical trials.
      While that is not directly related to self-esteem per your question, I do think it would provide a good starting point for creating a self-esteem questionnaire.
      I hope that helps!


    Thank you very much for this article.
    Will you be sharing the tool for measuring QOL?
    With warmest regards,

    • Annelé Venter

      Hi Pauline
      Thank you for your response. The tool is part of our toolkit, as is more than 280 other tools. By purchasing the toolkit you will have access to this plus much more.

  30. Swati Suryawanshi

    Very useful ,really helping for understanding the importance of the life thanks a lot ma’am for sharing this content.


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