Frequently Asked Questions about the WHOQOL
- Is the WHOQOL a quality of life questionnaire for use by patients, well people or health professionals?
- I want to use the WHOQOL, but don’t know which version to choose.
- Can I delete questions, or change the wording or order of the WHOQOL questions?
- Are there any norms available for the versions of the UK WHOQOL?
- Can I give the UK WHOQOL to English-speaking minority groups in Britain?
Question 1. Is the WHOQOL a quality of life questionnaire for use by patients, well people or health professionals?
A. The WHOQOL is a self-report questionnaire, which is designed to be answered by the person themselves to describe their own quality of life and what it means to them. It can be given to anybody who is sick or well and who is able to answer for themselves. In exceptional circumstances, where the person is unable to read or write the answers themselves, they can be assisted by a second person who reads the questions with their response scales aloud, and records that persons answers. The WHOQOL instruments are not designed for use in situations where people are unable to communicate about the meaning of their own quality of life e.g. in some cases of autism or major stroke.
Question 2. I want to use the WHOQOL, but don’t know which version to choose.
A. The WHOQOL-100 is a highly comprehensive instrument containing 100 items. It is particularly useful where a detailed investigation of quality of life is needed, as it is possible to obtain reliable results for each of the 25 facets of quality of life profile as well as for 4 (or 6) domains. It is commonly used in research and clinical practice, where there is time to complete it, and the burden on the patients is not too great. It is an ideal research tool. The short form WHOQOL-Bref contains 26 items that have been extracted from the WHOQOL-100. It is a comprehensive instrument covering the same 25 facets of quality of life as the WHOQOL-100. However because there is only one item per facet, this limits the reliable interpretation of facet information. If you want to know about quality of life relating to pain, sleep, negative feelings etc then you should use the WHOQOL-100 because the WHOQOL-Bref is scored in 4 Domains only: physical, psychological social and environmental quality of life. Because of its brevity, it is ideal for use in large-scale surveys, and in some clinical situations e.g. palliative care, where patient burden prohibits the use of the WHOQOL-100.
If you are working with people who are over 60 years of age, then you should use either the WHOQOL-100 or the WHOQOL-Bref, together with the extra WHOQOL-Old questions. As this is still work in progress, other forms may be available in the future.
The WHOQOL-SRPB, the WHOQOL-HIV and the WHOQOL-Pain are available for specific use in relevant conditions. Like the WHOQOL-Old, the questions for these modules must not be used alone, but in association with the WHOQOL-100 or WHOQOL-Bref to obtain holistic and reliable results.
Question 3. Can I delete questions, or change the wording or order of the WHOQOL questions?
A. No you cannot make changes to the WHOQOL questionnaires in any way. The WHOQOL instruments have the copyright of the World Health Organisation. If you are a researcher, please read the Terms and Conditions in the information for users carefully, before deciding whether or not you can agree to them.
Question 4. Are there any norms available for the versions of the UK WHOQOL?
A.There are currently no norms available for the UK WHOQOL versions. However some data on the WHOQOL-100 is available in Skevington (1999), and from recent validity studies in the Publications list. A major review of the performance of the WHOQOL-Bref in diverse sick and well UK samples is currently in preparation (Skevington, Lifford & McCrate, forthcoming).
Question 5. Can I give the UK WHOQOL to English-speaking minority groups in Britain?
A. Special language versions still need to be developed for use by minority groups living in Britain. This is because culture and language affect the way we think about, and express our quality of life, and these issues are incorporated into the development of the WHOQOL for different groups.