OBJECTIVES: The importance of economic evaluations of mental healthcare interventions is increasingly recognized. Despite the multitude of available quality of life instruments, concerns have been raised regarding the content validity of these instruments, and hence suitability for use in mental health. The aim of this paper, therefore, was to assess the content validity and the suitability of existing quality of life instruments for use in economic evaluations in mental health problems.
METHODS: In order to identify available quality of life instruments used in people with mental health problems, a systematic review was performed using the Embase, Medline and PsycINFO databases (time period January 2012 to January 2018). Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility and executed data extraction. The evaluation framework of Connell and colleagues was used to assess whether the identified quality of life instruments cover the dimensions valued highly by people with mental health problems. Two reviewers independently mapped the content of each identified instrument onto the evaluation framework and indicated the extent to which the instrument covered each of the dimensions of the evaluation framework.
RESULTS: Searches of databases yielded a total of 5727 references. Following duplicate removal and double-independent screening, 949 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis. A total of 44 unique quality of life instruments were identified, of which 12 were adapted versions of original instruments. The best coverage of the dimensions of the evaluation framework of Connell and colleagues was by the WHOQOL-100, S-QoL, SQLS, EDQoL, QLI and the IMHQOL, but none fully covered all dimensions of the evaluation framework.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study highlight the multitude of available quality of life instruments used in people with mental health problems and indicate that none of the available quality of life instruments fully cover the dimensions previously found to be important in people with mental health problems. Future research should explore the possibilities of refining or expanding existing instruments as well as the development and testing of new quality of life instruments to ensure that all relevant quality of life dimensions for people with mental health problems are covered in evaluations.