WHO – Quality of Life – Brief (WHOQOLBREF)


The WHOQOL-BREF was developed by the Word Health Organisation as a quality of life assessment that would be applicable cross-culturally. It is a 26 item self report measure, especially useful for measuring outcomes with adults with a psychosocial disability.

The scale is designed to measure the impact of disease and impairment on daily activities and behaviour, perceived health, disability and functional capacity.

The WHOQOL-BREF measures four factors:
1.Physical health
2.Psychological Health
3.Social relationships

The WHOQOL-BREF is a shorter version of the WHOQOL-100, and has been independently validated among people with disability as well as normative samples. Shawver et al. (2016) evaluated the internal consistency of the scales and validated the four domain factor structure.

Normative data in an Australian representative sample was collected by Hawthorne et al. (2006). The mean age of the sample was 48 years with educational and occupational patterns that generally mirror the Australian population.

The study found that the mean Transformed Score for each domain where:
1.Physical health. 73.5 (SD = 18.1)
2.Psychological Health. 70.6 (SD = 14)
3.Social relationships. 71.5 (SD = 18.2)
4.Environment. 75 (SD = 13)

The total score is presented between 26 and 156, where higher scores represent higher levels of quality of life. A quality of life profile is also produced by examining the four domain scores.

1. Physical Health – (Q 3, 4, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18). Raw scores between 7 and 35.

2. Psychological Health – (Q 5, 6, 7, 11, 19, 26). Raw score between 6 and 30

3. Social relationships – (Q 20, 21, 22). Raw score between 3 and 15.

4. Environment – (Q 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 23, 24, 25). Raw score between 8 and 40

As well as raw scores being presented, a transformed score between 0 and 100 is computed based on methodology published in the WHOQOL-BREF manual. This allows domain scores to be compared to each other. Higher transformed scores are indicative of higher level of quality of life.

Scores are also presented a percentile rank against the normative Australian population. Higher percentiles represent higher quality of life, and a percentile 50 represents average quality of life.

The WHOQOL Group. (1994). The development of the World Health Organization quality of life assessment instrument (the WHOQOL). In J. Orley and W. Kuyken (Eds) Quality of Life Assessment: International Perspectives. Heidelberg: Springer Verlag

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