Background Generic quality of life (QoL) instruments provide important measures of self-reported wellbeing that can be compared across healthy and clinical populations. The aim of this analysis is to validate the ten-item QoL instrument “QOL10”, as well as to confirm the validity of the embedded “QOL5” questionnaire and single-item “QOL1” in measuring overall QoL among adults in a substance use disorder treatment study. Methods We used exploratory factor analysis and measured internal and convergent validity of the QOL10 against the gold standard measure of the WHOQOL-BREF, in a subsample of 107 participants in a substance use disorder treatment study. Results The QOL10 displayed internal and convergent validity to the gold standard measure. Factor analysis revealed a two-factor structure that can be interpreted as “social QoL”, containing items about relationships and social functioning, and “global QoL”, comprised of items about health, working ability, self-evaluation, and an overall QoL estimation. Conclusions The QOL10 provides clinically useful and valid measures of social-related QoL and global QoL via two subscales. Interestingly, the QOL10’s social QoL measure, from the current sample, had little relationship to the analyzed groups previously reported to have differential global QoL: social QoL appears to be not only conceptually distinct from global QoL, but also to be less influenced by typical substance- and treatment-specific factors.
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