Quality of Well Being (QWB) and Quality of Well Being– Self-Administered (QWB-SA)

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Tool Description

  • Preference measure that was designed to measure health related quality of life.
  • Developed based on theory from the General Health Policy Model which incorporates the concepts of mortality, morbidity, the preference of an individual for a certain health state and the duration in that particular health state.
  • Administered by interview
  • Combines 4 scales:
    1) Mobility
    2) Physical Activity
    3) Social Activity
    4) Symptom/problem complexes
  • The QWB self-administered (QWB-SA) version combines three scales:
    1) Mobility
    2) Physical Activity
    3) Social Activity
    with a measure of symptoms/problems. This version contains slightly different content and the recall period was decreased from six days to three days to reduce recall bias.

ICF Domain:

Quality of Life

Number of Items:


Brief Instructions for Administration & Scoring


  • The original version of the QWB was designed to be interviewer administered.
  • The QWB-SA is designed to be self-administered.
  • The QWB-SA is reported to be easier to complete compared to the original QWB measure. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Equipment: None.


  • The QWB-SA score is calculated by subtracting the combination of the maximum weighted symptom/problem item and the weights associated with mobility, social activity and physical function from a “perfect” score of 1.0.
  • An overall utility score is calculated between 0.0 and 1.0; where 0.0 represents death and 1.0 represent perfect health.


MCID: not established for either QWB or QWB-SA for the SCI population
SEM: not established for either QWB or QWB-SA in SCI
MDC: not established for either QWB or QWB-SA in SCI

  • The QWB and QWB-SA provides an overall utility value which represents the preference an individual places on their specific health state, scored between 0.0 and 1.0.
  • Some normative data on the general population are provided in pg 22-24 of the QWB-SA manual (https://hoap.ucsd.edu/qwb-info/QWB-Manual.pdf).
  • No normative data or cut points have been reported for the SCI population
  • Published data on the SCI population is available for comparison (see Interpretability section of the Study Details sheet).


The QWB-SA is available in various languages (though none are specified).

Training Required:

None for the QWB-SA, while training is required for the interview-based QWB.


Can be found at: https://hoap.ucsd.edu/qwb-info/

Clinical Considerations

  • The QWB-SA is a preference-based measure that has been used in individuals with SCI.  It can provide information on health related quality of life and produces a utility value which can be used to calculate quality adjusted life years required for economic analyses.
  • It is not recommended to complete the QWB-SA by proxy.
  • 82% acceptability has been reported for the QWB, with the mean (SD) time taken to complete the test being 10.5 (3.2) min.

Measurement Property Summary

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 1


No values were reported for the reliability of the QWB for the SCI population.


  • QWB is significantly (P<.05) correlated to 6 of 8 Short-Form 36 subscales (all except Role Emotion and Mental Health).
  • QWB is significantly correlated to 4 of 8 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System items (Poor physical health days, pain limited activity days, good days and days worried tense anxious).

[Andresen et al. 1999]


No values were reported for the responsiveness of the QWB for the SCI population at this time.

Floor/ceiling effect:

  • The QWB showed no signs of floor or ceiling effects.

[Andresen et al. 1999]


Dr. Ben Mortenson, John Zhu, Matthew Querée

Date Last Updated:

Mar 16, 2017

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Download Worksheet:
Can be found at: https://hoap.ucsd.edu/qwb-info/





Equipment Needed

Quality of Well Being:

Andresen EM, Fouts BS, Romeis JC, Brownson CA. Performance of health related quality of life instruments in a spinal cord injured population. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1999;80:877-884.

Le QA, Doctor JN, Zoellner LA, Feeny NC. Minimal clinically important differences for the EQ-5D and QWB-SA in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): results from a Doubly Randomized Preference Trial (DRPT). Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2013;11:59.