Sense of smell disorder and health-related quality of life

Rehabil Psychol. 2009 Nov;54(4):404-412. doi: 10.1037/a0017502.


Objectives: To compare health-related quality of life and depression between individuals with an inability to smell (anosmia) and a comparison group of individuals with a normal sense of smell.

Methods: Ninety individuals from an anosmia organization (anosmia based on self-report) were compared to 89 individuals with a normal sense of smell. The SF-36 and Beck Depression Inventory-II-NL (BDI-II-NL) were administered, along with the Questionnaire for Olfactory Dysfunction (QOD) to assess the degree of problems in daily life related to the smell impairment.

Results: Compared to the comparison group, scores in the anosmia group differed on: the QOD-subscale Life Quality (related to tasting and smelling: p < .001) and Parosmia (Smelling odors as different: p < .001); and the SF-36 subscales of Social Functioning, Vitality, Mental Health and General Health (p's < .05). Persons with anosmia scored higher on the BDI-II-NL than persons from the comparison group (p < .01).

Discussion: Once a smell dysfunction is recognized, interventions aiming at dealing with the loss of smell as a source of information and enjoyment, as well as at improvement of emotional wellbeing, social interaction, energy, and depression should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ageusia / diagnosis
  • Ageusia / psychology
  • Ageusia / rehabilitation
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Olfaction Disorders / diagnosis
  • Olfaction Disorders / psychology*
  • Olfaction Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sick Role