Quality of Life Concepts

Secondary Health Conditions

Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index (QLI) SCI-Version

Description: A measure of subjective well-being that assesses satisfaction with various domains of life by taking into account their relative importance to the respondent [1]. 

Format: 74 items divided into two parts: Part 1 (Satisfaction; 37 items) and Part 2 (Importance; 37 items). Each item for both parts is ranked on a six point scale:

1 = Very Dissatisfied
2 = Moderately Dissatisfied
3 = Slightly Dissatisfied
4 = Slightly Satisfied
5 = Moderately Satisfied
6 = Very Satisfied

Scoring: The scoring scheme (see details below on where to obtain) provides a score range from 0 to 30, with higher scores reflecting higher levels of QoL. A score for total QoL or each of the sub-scales may be calculated: Health and Functioning; Socioeconomic Status; Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being; Family Relationships.

Administration and Burden: Caregiver-administered; Interviewer-administered; Proxy-administered; Self-administered.  Approximately 10 minutes.

Psychometrics for SCI: Support for the homogeneity reliability with Cronbach’s alpha scores of .73 to .99 [2]. Further work required to establish psychometric properties for the spinal cord injury (SCI) population, especially with respect to test re-test reliability.

Language(s):  The SCI version is available in English, French and Lithuanian.

QoL Concept: The QLI SCI-Version is a measure of subjective well-being, which corresponds to Boxes C (achievements), D (individual expectations and priorities) and E (subjective evaluations and reactions) of Dijker’s Model.

Permissions/Where to Obtain: Copyrighted: Instrument is available for non-profit research or clinical practice; The QLI SCI-Version and instructions for scoring are available at the Ferrans and Powers QLI website at: http://www.uic.edu/orgs/qli/.


  1. Ferrans CE, Powers MJ. Psychometric assessment of the Quality of Life Index. Res Nursing Health 1992;15:29-38.

  2. May LA, Warren S. Measuring quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury: external and structural validity. Spinal Cord 2002;40:341-50.


Pressure Ulcer SCI Studies: One cross-sectional observational study:

  1. Lyons S, Sorenson M. Quality of life in spinal cord injury patients with pressure ulcers. SCI Nursing 2009; 26:13-8.

Sensitivity to Impact: Lyons and Sorenson (2009) found that persons with pressure ulcers and spinal cord injury (SCI; n = 36) had significantly lower Quality of Life Index (QLI) SCI-Version scores (total and sub-scores) than an able-bodied reference population and an ‘SCI with no pressure ulcers’ reference population. However, no differences on the ‘Family’ sub-score were detected between the SCI pressure ulcer group and SCI group. It should be noted that the characteristics between the SCI groups may not have been equivalent, which could have influenced the outcomes.

Suggestions for Use: The psychometric properties of the QLI SCI-Version have not been fully established for the SCI population [1], and it may be prudent to use in conjunction with another measure of subjective well-being that has been validated for SCI (e.g., Satisfaction with Life Scale [SWLS]). However, preliminary evidence suggests it may be sensitive to pressure ulcer impact.

Additional References:

  1. May LA, Warren S. Measuring quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury: external and structural validity. Spinal Cord 2002;40:341-50

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