A Comparison of Quality of Life Measures in Husbands of Women with Breast Cancer

Christina D. Wagner, Silvia M. Bigatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Quality of Well-Being Scale (QWB-SA) and Medical Outcome Study SF-36 short form (SF-36) are popular health-related quality of life (HRQOL) assessment tools; however, it is unclear whether these measures overlap enough to be interchangeable, and if not, which might be a better choice. This study examined conceptual overlap, validity, and relation with psychosocial functioning of the QWB-SA and SF-36 in a sample of partners of women undergoing adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. Partners (n = 79) of breast cancer patients, recruited in a chemotherapy infusion clinic, completed the QWB-SA and SF-36 and additional psychosocial measures. Descriptive content review shows that both instruments provide a breadth of HRQOL coverage including physical health, mental health, social functioning, role functioning and general health perceptions; however, more QWB-SA scales suffered floor effects. Subscales correlated, with the strongest correlations between the QWB-SA total score and the mental health scales of the SF-36. The QWB-SA and the SF-36 Mental Health Component Summary score, but not the SF-36 Physical Component Summary score were strongly correlated to measures of mood, satisfaction with life, burden, and social support. The QWB-SA and SF-36 measure distinct aspects of HRQOL. Each instrument presents distinct advantages and disadvantages in coverage of particular domains. Labels assigned to SF-36 scales more accurately reflect what they measure. The SF-36 appeared more sensitive to the impact that psychological health played on overall assessment of HRQOL in these partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-969
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Partners
  • QWB-SA
  • Quality of life
  • SF-36

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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