Quality of Life Research

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 25–30 | Cite as

Measurement limit of quality-of-life questionnaires in psychiatric settings

  • Takeshi Nishiyama
  • Norio Ozaki



The extent to which psychiatric patients with a broad spectrum of disability can validly self-report on their quality of life (QOL) remains unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to clarify the measurement limit of a QOL questionnaire in psychiatric settings.


We examined this issue by assessing data quality, reliability, and validity of the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) in 137 chronically mentally ill inpatients. We also attempted to identify the impact of cognitive impairment on the validity of the SF-36 and ascertain the points throughout the continuum of cognitive functioning at which self-reported data become compromised.


Cognitive functioning was a major determinant of the data quality, and the psychometric properties of this instrument were marginally acceptable only in patients with Mini-Mental State Examination scores of 28 or higher.


Measuring QOL reliably and validly through self-report may be possible in psychiatric patients with only very slight cognitive impairment. Therefore, interviewer-administered instruments that measure QOL may be preferable to questionnaires in psychiatric settings.


Questionnaires Data quality Reliability Validity Psychiatry 



MOS 36-item short-form health survey


Mini-mental state examination


Rehabilitation evaluation Hall and Baker



The authors thank the Okehazama Hospital for allowing us to recruit their patients. We are most grateful to all the subjects for their valuable participation.

Declaration of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Trial Management CenterNagoya City University HospitalNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Doctor of Public Health Program in BiostatisticsNational Institute of Public HealthWakoJapan
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan

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