Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 13–26 | Cite as

Worsening trends and increasing disparities in health-related quality of life: evidence from two French population-based cross-sectional surveys, 1995–2003




To investigate time trends in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in France and to report existing and changing demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities.


Data were drawn from two independent national cross-sectional surveys conducted in 1995 and 2003, including 3,243 individuals aged 18–84 in 1995 and 22,743 in 2003. HRQoL was measured with the 8 subscales of the French version of the SF-36.


After multiple linear regression, a significant decrease was observed between 1995 and 2003 in all scales scores, from −0.11 adjusted standard deviations for Social Functioning (95% CI: −0.15 to −0.08) to −0.23 for Vitality (−0.26 to −0.19). Increasing age, female gender, divorce/widowhood, lowest educational levels, chronic conditions, and living in the Northern region were identified as independent predictors of lower HRQoL scores. Testing interactions showed significantly greater differences between 1995 and 2003 for subjects aged 75–84 and for least educated subjects (Physical Functioning, General Health). The Gini index increased for all scales.


We report evidence of worsening trends and possibly increasing demographic, socioeconomic, and regional disparities in HRQoL between 1995 and 2003 in France. Monitoring HRQoL in populations can provide unique and sensitive data, complementary to classical indicators based on mortality and morbidity.


Health disparities Health-related quality of life Surveillance Population-based study 



Bodily pain


General health


Health-related quality of life


Mental health


Physical functioning


Role limitations relating to mental health


Role limitations relating to physical health


Socioeconomic status


Social functioning


Self-rated health



Supplementary material

11136_2012_117_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (67 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etienne Audureau
    • 1
  • Stéphane Rican
    • 2
  • Joël Coste
    • 1
  1. 1.Biostatistics and Epidemiology Unit, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôtel-DieuNancy-Université, Université Paris-Descartes, Université Metz Paul VerlaineParis Cedex 4France
  2. 2.Space, Health and Territories LaboratoryUniversity of Paris Ouest-NanterreNanterreFrance

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