Background information: Measuring methods

Many methods are used to measure and interpret quality of life, and more are being developed every year. Here two methods are explained in more detail.

SF-36—perhaps the most common survey worldwide— is a multi-purpose, short-form health survey with 36 questions. It yields an 8-scale profile of functional health and well-being scores and provides a psychometrically-based physical and mental health summary. It is a generic measure rather than one that targets a specific age, disease, or treatment group. SF-36 has proven useful in surveys of general and specific populations, comparing the relative burden of diseases, and in differentiating the health benefits from a wide range of different treatments. SF-36 is a measure of health status rather than of quality of life or health-related quality of life.

SEIQoL-DW (Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life – Direct Weighting) is an instrument that has been developed to measure individual quality of life. The use of SEIQoL-DW overcomes the problem of predetermined questions, which assume that each person’s quality of life is affected by the same determinants and that different aspects of life are equally important for everyone. SEIQoL-DW assesses determinants that contribute to individuals' quality of life.


Guyatt GH, Feeny DH, Patrick DL. Measuring health-related quality of life,, published 1993, accessed 6/11/2008.

Moons P, Marquet K, Budts W, De Geest S. Validity, reliability and responsiveness of the "Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life – Direct Weighting" (SEIQoL-DW) in congenital heart disease,, accessed 5/11/2008.