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The prediction of mortality by quality of life assessed with the WHOQOL-BREF: a longitudinal analysis at the domain and item levels using a seven-year follow-up period

Quality of Life Research
Robbert J. J. Gobbens, Tjeerd van der Ploeg
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To determine the predictive value of quality of life for mortality at the domain and item levels.


This longitudinal study was carried out in a sample of 479 Dutch people aged 75 years or older living independently, using a follow-up of 7 years. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire. Quality of life was assessed with the WHOQOL-BREF, including four domains: physical health, psychological, social relationships, and environment. The municipality of Roosendaal (a town in the Netherlands) indicated the dates of death of the individuals.


Based on mean, all quality of life domains predicted mortality adjusted for gender, age, marital status, education, and income. The hazard ratios ranged from 0.811 (psychological) to 0.933 (social relationships). The areas under the curve (AUCs) of the four domains were 0.730 (physical health), 0.723 (psychological), 0.693 (social relationships), and 0.700 (environment). In all quality of life domains, at least one item predicted mortality (adjusted).


Our study showed that all four quality of life domains belonging to the WHOQOL-BREF predict mortality in a sample of Dutch community-dwelling older people using a follow-up period of 7 years. Two AUCs were above threshold (psychological, physical health). The findings offer health care and welfare professionals evidence for conducting interventions to reduce the risk of premature death.

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