• 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.

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.

ICF Domain

Quality of Life


  • 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.

Number of Items





  • 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.


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

Training Required

QWB-SA: None

Training is required for the interview-based QWB. 


Telephone Screening Interview can be found here.
QWB-SA Manual can be found here.

# of studies reporting psychometric properties: 1


  • 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).

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


  • Intra-rater reliability is High (r = 0.95-0.983)
  • Inter-rater reliability is High (r = 0.974-0.99)
  • Test-retest reliability is High (r = 0.977-0.99)

(Van Hedel, Dietz & Wirz 2005, Scivoletto et al. 2011, Perez-Sanpablo et al. 2017, Rini et al., 2018)


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

16 March 2017

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.