Existential well-being is an important determinant of quality of life. Evidence from the McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire

Cancer. 1996 Feb 1;77(3):576-86. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0142(19960201)77:3<576::AID-CNCR22>3.0.CO;2-0.


Background: The McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire (MQOL) is being developed to correct what we perceive to be a flaw in existing quality of life instruments: neglect of the existential domain.

Methods: This study reports the first use of MQOL for people with cancer at all phases of the disease, including those with no evidence of disease after therapy.

Results: The data suggest that MQOL is comprised of an item measuring physical well-being and four subscales: physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, existential well-being, and support. MQOL is acceptable to oncology outpatients. Correlation of the MQOL total and subscale scores with a single item scale measuring overall quality of life and with the Spitzer Quality of Life Index suggests that MQOL has construct and concurrent validity.

Conclusions: The hypothesis that the existential domain is important, especially to those patients with a life-threatening illness, is supported because multiple regression showed that the existential subscale is at least as important as any other subscale in predicting a single item scale measuring the overall quality of life and plays a greater role in determining the quality of life of patients with local or metastatic disease than in patients with no evidence of disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Existentialism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires