Review: A systematic review of quality of life measures for people with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviours

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BackgroundThe quality of life (QOL) construct is proposed as a method to assess service outcomes for people utilising disability services. With this in mind, the aim of this study was to conduct a systematic review of available QOL measures for people with intellectual disability (ID) to pinpoint psychometrically sound measures that can be routinely used for service evaluation.MethodA systematic search of the disability literature published between 1980 and 2008 was conducted in order to identify appropriate QOL tools for use within an Australian context. Twenty-four QOL instruments were identified and each instrument was then evaluated against a set of psychometric and measurement criteria.ResultsSix of the instruments examined were deemed to be psychometrically sound on the available information. No instruments were found that specifically assess QOL for people with ID who exhibit challenging behaviour. Most of the instruments assess QOL from a subjective perspective, use a questionnaire format and measure only some (not all) of the eight theoretically accepted domains of QOL.ConclusionsMore instruments that measure QOL need to be developed and rigorously validated. This is especially the case for high-needs disability populations like those individuals that exhibit challenging behaviour or have severe to profound ID, as it is questionable whether existing measures can be used with these populations.

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