Quality of Life Research

, Volume 14, Issue 7, pp 1651–1668 | Cite as

Quality of life in older people: A structured review of generic self-assessed health instruments

  • K. L. HaywoodEmail author
  • A. M. Garratt
  • R. Fitzpatrick


Objective: To review evidence relating to the measurement properties of multi-item generic patient or self-assessed measures of health in older people. Methods: Systematic literature searches to identify instruments. Pre-defined criteria relating to reliability, validity and responsiveness. Results: 122 articles relating to 15 instruments met the inclusion criteria. The most extensive evidence was found for the SF-36, COOP Charts, EQ-5D, Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) and SIP. Four instruments have evidence of both internal consistency and test–retest reliability – NHP, SF-12, SF-20, SF-36. Four instruments lack evidence of reliability – HSQ-12, IHQL, QWB, SQL. Most instruments were assessed for validity through comparisons with other instruments, global judgements of health, or clinical and socio-demographic variables. Five instruments lack evidence of responsiveness – GQL, HSQ-12, IHQL, QLI and QWB. Conclusion: There is good evidence for reliability, validity and responsiveness for the SF-36, EQ-5D and NHP. There is more limited evidence for the COOP, SF-12 and SIP. The SF-36 is recommended where a detailed and broad ranging assessment of health is required, particularly in community dwelling older people with limited morbidity. The EQ-5D is recommended where a more succinct assessment is required, particularly where a substantial change in health is expected. Instrument content should be assessed for relevance before application. The concurrent evaluation of generic instruments in older people is recommended.


Generic instruments Older people Review Self-assessed health 


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© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. L. Haywood
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. M. Garratt
    • 2
  • R. Fitzpatrick
    • 1
  1. 1.National Centre for Health Outcomes Development, Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology, Department of Public HealthUniversity of OxfordOxfordUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Norwegian Centre for Health Services ResearchNasjonalt junnskapssenter for helsetjenestenSt. Olavs plassNorway

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