International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 272–285 | Cite as

Incontinence-specific quality of life measures used in trials of treatments for female urinary incontinence: a systematic review

  • Sue Ross
  • Dana Soroka
  • Amalia Karahalios
  • Cathryn M. A. Glazener
  • E. Jean C. Hay-Smith
  • Harold P. Drutz
Review Article


This systematic review examined the use of incontinence-specific quality of life (QOL) measures in clinical trials of female incontinence treatments, and systematically evaluated their quality using a standard checklist. Of 61 trials included in the review, 58 (95.1%) used an incontinence-specific QOL measure. The most commonly used were IIQ (19 papers), I-QoL (12 papers) and UDI (9 papers). Eleven papers (18.0%) used measures which were not referenced or were developed specifically for the study. The eight QOL measures identified had good clinical face validity and measurement properties. We advise researchers to evaluate carefully the needs of their specific study, and select the QOL measure that is most appropriate in terms of validity, utility and relevance, and discourage the development of new measures. Until better evidence is available on the validity and comparability of measures, we recommend that researchers consider using IIQ or I-QOL with or without UDI in trials of incontinence treatments.


Systematic review Incontinence-specific quality of life measures Outcome measurement Psychometric properties Clinical face validity 


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Copyright information

© International Urogynecology Journal 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sue Ross
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 9
  • Dana Soroka
    • 4
    • 5
  • Amalia Karahalios
    • 3
  • Cathryn M. A. Glazener
    • 6
  • E. Jean C. Hay-Smith
    • 7
  • Harold P. Drutz
    • 4
    • 8
  1. 1.Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Family Medicine and Community Health SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Health Policy, Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health Research UnitCentre for Research in Women’s Health, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences CentreTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyUniversity of TorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologySaint Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Health Services Research UnitUniversity of AberdeenUK
  7. 7.Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of OtagoNew Zealand
  8. 8.Section of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  9. 9.Department of Obstetrics and GynaecologyFoothills Medical CentreCalgaryCanada

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