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Study protocol for the World Health Organization project to develop a Quality of Life assessment instrument (WHOQOL)

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has undertaken a project to develop an instrument (the WHOQOL) for measuring quality of life. Quality of life is defined as an individual's perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. It is a broad ranging concept affected in a complex way by the person's physical health, psychological state, level of independence, social relationships, and their relationship to salient features of their environment.

The instrument will be developed in the framework of a collaborative project involving numerous centres in different cultural settings. In addition, it will have proven psychometric properties of validity, responsiveness and reliability and will be sensitive to the cultural setting in which it is applied, whilst maintaining comparability of scores across different cultural settings.

This paper outlines the characteristics of the planned instrument and the study protocol governing work on its development. To date steps 1 through 5 have been completed and work is progressing on step 6. It is anticipated that the instrument will be available for piloting in July 1993 and a final version available for use in June 1994.

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The study protocol for the WHO project to develop a Quality of Life assessment instrument reported here is based on the work and experience of a panel of consultants, as well as the collaborating investigators in each of the field sites. The collaborating investigators in this study are: Prof. H. Herrman, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Ass. Prof. Z. Metelko and Prof. S. Szabo, Institute of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, Dr S. Rajkumar and Mrs Shuba Kumar, Madras Medical College, Madras, India, Prof. Dr G. Van Heck, and Mrs J. De Vries, Tilburg University, Tilburg, Netherlands, Prof. Arroyo Sucre, University of Panama, Panama, Prof. Kabanov, Dr Lomachenkov and Dr Burkovsky, Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia, Prof Sompotch Sukwatana and Mr Kitikorn Meesapya, Department of Medical Services, Bangkok, Thailand, Dr S. Skevington, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom; Dr D. Patrick and Ms M. Martin, University of Washington, Seattle, USA and; Dr J. Mutambirwa, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe. The project team at the Division of Mental Health, WHO, Geneva is Dr N. Sartorius, Dr J. Orley and Dr W. Kuyken.

Technical support and funds for carrying out this study have been provided by the World Health Organization, by the participating centres themselves and by grants from the Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, USA, and the Carnegie Corporation, New York, USA.

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WHOQOL Group. Study protocol for the World Health Organization project to develop a Quality of Life assessment instrument (WHOQOL). Qual Life Res 2, 153–159 (1993).

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