Terms and Conditions of Use of the WHOQOL Tools

Permission to use the WHOQOL is granted for each individual study. Further permission is needed if you intend to use it in any other research or for other purposes. Any permission obtained from the NZ centre to use one of the WHOQOL instruments pertains to New Zealand only. If you wish to use any other language version e.g. Australian English, US English, you will need to obtain permission from the Principal Officer in the relevant Centre to use their language version or from WHO Geneva.

Before registering as a WHOQOL User, please read the following Terms and Conditions:

Users agree that they will not modify, abridge, condense, translate, adapt, recast or transform any version of the UK WHOQOL instruments in any manner or form including but not limited to any minor or significant changes in the wording, organisation or administration procedures for the NZ WHOQOL instruments without the prior written agreement of the Dr Rex Billington or Dr Chris Krageloh of the New Zealand WHOQOL Group.  You agree that you will not reproduce copies of the  WHOQOL instruments except for the limited purpose of generating sufficient copies for use in investigations stated hereunder and shall in no event distribute them to third parties by sale, rental, lease, lending or any other means or use them for conducting studies other than those specified in the User Agreement form.


The position taken by WHO on intellectual property rights for the WHOQOL in its various forms is that each national Centre jointly owns the copyright to its own language-specific instrument with the World Health Organisation.


The use of the NZ WHOQOL is currently free of author’s royalty fees except where Users have obtained funding from a pharmaceutical company or other commercial organisation, where a fee of NZ$500 is currently charged for use in a single study.z

Provision of Data

All data, results and reports obtained or prepared in connection with the NZ WHOQOL version shall remain the Users property. However the NZ WHOQOL Centre may request the User to share the data, results and reports obtained through the use of the UK WHOQOL and its versions. This information has been used to develop NZ Reference values which are available upon request.

Before dispatch, Users should remove participant’s names from the database and substitute a unique Study Identity code for each participant, to maintain confidentiality. Data contributed by Users that are included in the publications of the NZ WHOQOL Centre will be acknowledged in the usual way.


Use of NZ WHOQOL-BREF must be acknowledged in your publications using the following wording ‘The material in this publication is the result of use of the NZ WHOQOL-BREF  and the assistance of the AUT University and the World Health Organisation is acknowledged’

Confidentiality and Liability

All and any information related to the WHOQOL including but not limited to the following: information concerning clinical investigations, creations, systems, materials, software, data and know-how, translations, improvements ideas, specifications, documents, records, notebooks, drawings and any repositories or representation of such information, whether oral or in writing or software stored, are herein referred to as confidential information. In consideration of the disclosure of any such confidential information, you agree to hold such confidential information in confidence and not to divulge it in whole or part to any third party except for the purpose specified in these Terms and Conditions of Use.
Under no circumstances may members of the NZ WHOQOL Group or AUT University be held liable for direct or indirect consequential damage resulting from the use of the WHOQOL tools in its various forms. Neither AUT University nor the NZ WHOQOL Group makes any warranty that use of the WHOQOL tools will be fit for the purpose you wish to use it for, and no liability in this respect will be accepted.

Access to the Questionnaires

You will have access to the NZ WHOQOL-BREF for examination through the NZ WHOQOL-BREF User Manual. The other tools you may access separately on-line. The NZ WHOQOL Centre will advise you in this process. If you have other questions or need further information please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions about the WHOQOL

  1. Is the WHOQOL a quality of life questionnaire for use by patients, well people or health professionals?
  2. I want to use the WHOQOL, but don’t know which version to choose.
  3. Can I delete questions, or change the wording or order of the WHOQOL questions?
  4. Are there any norms available for the versions of the NZ WHOQOL?
  5. Can I give the NZ WHOQOL to English-speaking minority groups in New Zealand?

Question 1. Is the WHOQOL a quality of life questionnaire for use by patients, well people or health professionals?
A. The WHOQOL is a self-report questionnaire, which is designed to be answered by the person themselves to describe their own quality of life and what it means to them. It can be given to anybody who is sick or well and who is able to answer for themselves. In exceptional circumstances, where the person is unable to read or write the answers themselves, they can be assisted by a second person who reads the questions with their response scales aloud, and records those person’s answers. The WHOQOL instruments are not designed for use in situations where people are unable to communicate about the meaning of their own quality of life e.g. in some cases of autism or major stroke.

Question 2. I want to use the WHOQOL, but don’t know which version to choose.
A. The WHOQOL-100 is a highly comprehensive instrument containing 100 items. It is particularly useful where a detailed investigation of quality of life is needed, as it is possible to obtain reliable results for each of the 25 facets of quality of life profile as well as for 4 (or 6) domains. It is commonly used in research and clinical practice, where there is time to complete it, and the burden on the patients is not too great. It is an ideal research tool. There is no special NZ version yet of the WHOQOL-100 but the generic or Australian version are both valid and reliable. NZ The short form WHOQOL-BREF contains items, 26 have been extracted from the WHOQOL-100 . It is a comprehensive instrument covering the same 26 facets of quality of life as the WHOQOL-100. However because there is only one item per facet, this limits the reliable interpretation of facet information. If you want to know about quality of life relating to pain, sleep, negative feelings etc then you should use the WHOQOL-100 because the WHOQOL-BREF is scored in 4 Domains only: physical, psychological social and environmental quality of life. Because of its brevity, it is ideal for use in large-scale surveys, and in some clinical situations e.g. palliative care, where patient burden prohibits the use of the WHOQOL-100.

If you are working with people who are over 60 years of age, then you should use either the WHOQOL-100 or the WHOQOL-BREF, together with the extra WHOQOL-OLD questions. The WHOQOL-SRPB, the WHOQOL-HIV and the WHOQOL-DIS are available for specific use in relevant conditions. Like the WHOQOL-OLD, the questions for these modules must not be used alone, but in association with the WHOQOL-100 or WHOQOL-BREF to obtain holistic and reliable results.

Question 3. Can I delete questions, or change the wording or order of the WHOQOL questions?
A. No you cannot make changes to the WHOQOL questionnaires in any way. The WHOQOL instruments have the copyright of the World Health Organisation. If you are a researcher, please read the Terms and Conditions in the information for users carefully, before deciding whether or not you can agree to them.

Question 4. Are there any norms available for the versions of the NZ WHOQOL-BREF ?
A. There are norms available for the NZ WHOQOL-BREF but they are called reference values. They apply only to people who have designated themselves as well. The reference values are produced for different age groups, gender and education level. They are obtainable upon request for those authorised to use the NZ WHOQOL-BREF only.

Question 5. Can I give the NZ WHOQOL=BREF to English-speaking minority groups in New Zealand?
A. Yes you can. The generic WHOQO –BREF is an international scale used in many countries. All the 26 core questions apply globally. You can even have this generic version in some other major international languages for New Zealand residents who do not yet have a good command of English too. However, the unique 5 New Zealand national items have yet to be translated into these other language versions.