Background: There has been increasing interest in the measurement of quality of life in cross-sectional investigations and in the assessment of intervention outcomes in elderly adults. Several instruments used in this measurement have not yet been adequately tested.
Objective: To describe the psychometric properties of the World Health Organization's Quality of Life Instrument–Short Version (WHOQOL-BREF) in a sample of Brazilian elderly.
Method: A total of 424 elderly adults selected through convenience sampling completed the instruments WHOQOL-BREF, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS) and a sociodemographic data form. Discriminant validity, concurrent validity, criterion validity and internal consistency were analyzed.
Results: The sample comprised predominantly women (64.2%), community-dwelling subjects (84.4%) and subjects who consider themselves healthy (67.5%). All domains in the instrument showed the ability to discriminate levels of depressive symptoms and hopelessness, as well as different perceptions of health status. The correlation coefficients among the domains and the BDI and BHS scores were statistically significant. The reliability coefficients present scores ranging from 0.614 to 0.925.
Conclusion: The WHOQOL-BREF instrument shows suitable psychometric performance in a sample of Brazilian older adults, becoming a useful alternative in the measurement of quality of life in this population.