Incontinence Quality of Life Questionnaire (I-QOL)

The I-QOL measures the effect of urinary incontinence on quality of life. Generic health-related quality of life questionnaires mainly assess the individual’s underlying primary condition and therefore are relatively insensitive to treatment-specific changes related to incontinence. The I-QOL is divided into 3 subscales: 1) avoidance and limiting behavior (ALB); 2) psychosocial impact (PSI); and 3) social embarrassment (SE).

Number of items: 22

Procedure/Administration: The I-QOL is a pen and paper, self-report questionnaire. Subjects use a 5-point response scale with values ranging from 1 (extremely) to 5 (not at all).

How scored: A mean score for each subscale is calculated (summing the scores for each item) as well as a total score for all 22 items (sum of all subscale scores).  The scores are then transformed to a ‘Scale score’ ranging from 0-100 points for ease of interpretation: Scale score = (sum of the items – lowest possible score)/possible raw score range X 100. A higher score indicates a higher QOL. The minimal important difference (MID) of the items range from 4 to 11 points depending on the statistic used.

Interpretability: For all items, higher scores indicate better incontinence-related QOL. 

Acceptability: The scale was originally developed for the general population; subsequently, some items are not applicable for individuals with SCI.

Languages: The instrument has been translated into more than 20 European, Asian, North and South American, and African languages.

Usability: The questionnaire is easy to understand and poses little respondent burden. However, the assessment cannot be completed by proxy.

Time to administer: 5 minutes

Time to score: N/a

Training required: N/a

Availability: The I-QoL can be found in the original article (Schurch et al; 2007); however no information was found on how to access the user manual. 

Equipment required: N/a

Summary: The I-QOL is a highly used and widely recommended scale. Among other populations, the scale has been shown to be reliable, valid, and responsive to change. No ceiling effects have been reported and it is suitable for both men and women.

Pyschometric Summary:








IC: Green light

Yellow light


Yellow light

Note: TR= Test re-test; IC= Internal Consistency; Inter-O= Inter-observer; Intra-O= Intra-observer; SS= Sensitivity/Specificity; N/a= No information.

Red light= A single study involving SCI subjects which has less than adequate findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.

Yellow light= A single study involving subjects with SCI which has adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.

Green light= At least 2 studies involving subjects with SCI which have adequate to excellent findings of reliability, validity, and/or responsiveness.