Individualization in quality of life measurement: instruments and approaches

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2003 Apr;84(4 Suppl 2):S3-14. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2003.50241.


Quality of life (QOL) and health-related QOL (HRQOL) instruments abound in the health care literature, but many appear to measure nothing more than what in previous decades was called health status. As such, they fail to include numerous domains of life that are salient to many people, they omit items tapping into meaning and feelings of well-being, and they do not allow for individualization to take into account personal preferences. Based on a conceptualization of QOL and a corresponding 2-dimensional scheme for classification of instruments, several measures published in the literature are presented that allow for subject selection of domains, specification of standards and aspirations, and/or report of subjective reactions to status on various domains. The advantages and disadvantages of standardized versus individualized instruments are discussed, as well as methodologic questions with respect to the latter that future research needs to address.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards
  • Self Efficacy
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*