Developing methods for assessing quality of life in different cultural settings - The history of the WHOQOL instruments

Suzanne M. Skevington, Norman Sartorius, Marianne Amir, Norman Sartorius, J. Orley, Willem Kuyken, Mick Power, Helen Herrman, H. Schofield, B. Murphy, Z. Metelko, S. Szabo, M. Pibernik-Okanovic, N. Quemada, A. Caria, S. Rajkumar, Shuba Kumar, S. Saxena, D. Baron, M. AmirMiyako Tazaki, Ariko Noji, G. van Heck, J. de Vries, J. Arroyo-Sucre, A. Pichard-Ami, M. Kabanov, A. Lomachenkov, G. Burkovsky, R. Lucas Carrasco, Yooth Bodharamik, Kitikorn Meesapya, D. Patrick, M. Martin, D. Wild, W. Acuda, J. Mutambirwa, N. K. Aaronson, P. Bech, M. Bullinger, He Nian Chen, J. Fox-Rushby, C. Moinpur, R. Rosser, D. Buesching, D. Bucquet, L. W. Chambers, B. Jambon, C. D. Jenkinson, D. De Leo, L. Fallowfield, P. Gerin, P. Graham, O. Gureje, K. Kalumba, A. Kerr-Corea, C. Mercier, J. Oliver, Y. H. Poortinga, R. Trotter, F. van Dam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Background. This review traces the 12-year history of an international collaboration of researchers - the WHOQOL Group - who were brought together by the World Health Organisation to develop and produce a cross-cultural measure of quality of life for use in health and health care. Discussion. The theoretical and philosophical basis of the WHOQOL instrument is outlined as it evolved throughout the design and adjustment of a reflexive methodology that places an assessment of the users' views at the centre of health care. The stages of research are further expanded and explained in recounting the scientific experience of this unique collaboration. The WHOQOL is available in 40 countries and most majority languages. Adaptations exist for assessing particular conditions, e. g. spirituality, religion and personal beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Assessment
  • Development
  • Health
  • Quality of life
  • The WHOQOL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology


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