• Designed to measure subjective quality of life in terms of satisfaction within different life domains.
  • Originates from Flanagan’s perception of life satisfaction (Flanagan JC, 1982, “Measurement of quality of life: current state of the art”), which holds that two aspects, importance and satisfaction, must be addressed when measuring QOL.  Importance ratings are used to weight the satisfaction responses, such that scores reflect the respondents’ satisfaction with the aspects of life they value.  Items that are rated as more important have a greater impact on scores than those of lesser importance.
  • Comprised of 4 domains:

1.     Health and functioning
2.     Psychological/spiritual
3.     Social and economic
4.     Family.

Clinical Considerations

Psychometric properties for SCI populations remain to be established, particularly with respect to test-retest reliability.

ICF Domain

Quality of Life


  • Can be administered in an interview or by client self-report.
  • The scales (satisfaction and importance) are on a 6-point Likert scale, ranging from 1, very dissatisfied (very unimportant), to 6, very satisfied (very important).
  • Five scores are generated (i.e. total and 4 domains) on a 0 – 30 scale.
  • Administration time is approximately 10 minutes.

Number of Items

SCI version (37 items)




Scoring instructions are available on the instrument website (http://www.uic.edu/orgs/qli/questionaires/questionnairehome.htm).


The spinal cord injury version is available in English, Lithuanian and French. For other versions (arthritis, cancer, cardiac, etc.), many languages (over 10) are available.

Training Required

Does not require advanced training.


Can be found here.

Measurement Property Summary

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 2


  • Scores represent the satisfaction with different aspects of life; a higher score in one of the 4 domains indicates a higher satisfaction with that particular aspect of life.
  • No normative data have been established for the SCI population
  • Published data for the SCI population are available for comparison (see Interpretability section of the Research Summary sheet).

MCID: not established in SCI
SEM: not established in SCI
MDC: not established in SCI


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


Correlation of the QLI is High for the Reintegration to Normal Living (RNL) Index: Correlation = -0.652 and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) (Correlation = 0.609).

(May & Warren 2001, 2002)


No values were reported for the responsiveness of the QLI for the SCI population.

Floor/Ceiling Effect

No values were reported for the presence of floor/ceiling effects in the QLI for the SCI population.


Dr. Ben Mortenson, Jeff Tan, John Zhu

Date Last Updated

16 March 2017

Ferrans C, Powers M. Quality of life index: development and psychometric properties. Adv Nurs Sci 1985;8:15-24.

Ferrans C, Powers M. Psychometric assessment of the Quality of Life Index. Res Nurs Health 1992;15:29-38.

May L, Warren S. Measuring quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury: Substantive and structural validation. Qual Life Res 2001;10:503-515.

May LA, Warren S. Measuring quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury: external and structural validity. Spinal Cord 2002;40:341-350.