How appropriate is the WHOQOL-BREF for assessing the quality of life of adolescents?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • S. M. Skevington
  • S. Dehner
  • F. B. Gillison
  • E. J. McGrath
  • C. R. Lovell


Background: Using mixed-methods research, we investigated whether the adult version of the WHOQOL-BREF was acceptable and feasible to use with adolescents (13-19), and what features might need to be changed to develop it. Differences from young adults quality of life (QoL) (20-30 years) could add justification.Methods: Preliminary psychometric properties of the adult WHOQOL-BREF were examined in 208 adolescents and 204 young adults. Unhealthy adolescents diagnosed with acne or elevated depressive symptoms (CES-D) were compared with healthy adolescents. Cognitive interviewing used 'think aloud' techniques with six healthy adolescents during WHOQOL-BREF completion. Concepts and wording were thematically analysed for relevance, comprehension and comprehensiveness.Results: Little data were missing from the WHOQOL-BREF suggesting some feasibility and acceptability to adolescents. Compared with adults, adolescents perceived greater access to information, a better home environment, worse pain, and medication dependency. Internal consistency reliability for adolescents was good (α =.89), especially psychological and environmental QoL. Content validity especially for social and environment domains was supported. Domains validly discriminated between high- and low-depressive symptoms but not acne groups. Additional new facets on autonomy, altruism and physical fitness and changed item contents are proposed.Conclusion: The evidence indicates that developing a new adolescent version is justifiable. Cross-cultural research should build on these preliminary findings. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-317
Number of pages20
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number3
Early online date6 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014