Performance of a self-administered mailed version of the Quality of Well-Being (QWB-SA) questionnaire among older adults

Med Care. 1998 Sep;36(9):1349-60. doi: 10.1097/00005650-199809000-00007.


Objectives: The Quality of Well-Being questionnaire is a measure of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) that has several desirable properties. Its widespread use has been hindered because it is difficult to administer. To overcome this limitation, a new self-administered form has recently been developed. This study examined the feasibility of using the Quality of Well-Being-Self-Administered (QWB-SA) questionnaire in an older population.

Methods: The Quality of Well-Being-Self-Administered questionnaire was sent to 430 community-dwelling individuals aged 65 years and older who were randomly selected from primary care physicians' offices. Response patterns, scaling distributions, and the acceptability of the survey were examined for all respondents. The results of the QWB-SA questionnaire were compared to the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) for those individuals who also had completed the latter two surveys approximately 10 months earlier and whose health had not changed substantially in the meantime.

Results: Three hundred and one older adults (70%) responded. The mean QWB-SA questionnaire score was 0.7035. The scores were not skewed, and there were no floor or ceiling effects. The mean time to complete the QWB-SA questionnaire was 14.2 minutes, which was significantly shorter than for the SIP (19.3 minutes) but significantly longer than for the SF-36 (12.5 minutes). Subjects rated their satisfaction with the QWB-SA questionnaire somewhat lower than for the SIP and similar to SF-36. Correlations between the QWB-SA questionnaire and the SIP and SF-36 were moderate and were generally stronger for measures of physical health than for other domains such as mental health.

Conclusions: The self-administered QWB questionnaire was acceptable to older respondents, and it correlated with other measures of health-related quality of life. It can be considered as a candidate for some research applications among older adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sick Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States