The Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) is a brief measure of health-related quality of life in children and young people. The measure can be completed by parents (the Proxy Report) as well as children and young people (the Self-Report).

The 23 items in the PedsQL comprise four Generic Core Scales:

  • Physical Functioning (8 items)
  • Emotional Functioning (5 items)
  • Social Functioning (5 items)
  • School Functioning (5 items)

Two Summary Scores can be computed (the Psychosocial Health Summary Score and the Physical Health Summary Score), as well as a Total Scale Score.

There are also Condition-Specific Modules available for use in designated clinical populations.

Psychometric properties

Property Definition PedsQL
Reliability Degree to which respondents in a similar sample had similar scores

Research may be available depending on clinical population.

Internal consistency Degree to which similar items within a scale correlate with each other

The Total Scale Score of the Generic Core Scales has been found to have internal consistency reliability of 0.88 for the Child Self-Report, and 0.90 for the Parent Proxy-Report (Varni, Seid & Kurtin, 2001).

Test-retest reliability Degree to which the same respondents have the same score after period of time when trait shouldn’t have changed Research may be available depending on clinical population.
Concurrent validity Correlation of the measure with others measuring the same concept Research may be available depending on clinical population.
Discriminant validity Lack of correlation with opposite concepts

The PedsQL Core Generic Scales have been found to distinguish between healthy children and children with acute and chronic health conditions, and to distinguish severity of illness within chronic health conditions (Varni, Seid & Kurtin, 2001).


The PedsQL can be completed by children and young people, with versions available for children and young people aged 5-7, 8-12, and 13-18. Parent-rated versions are available for children aged 2-4, 5-7, 8-12, and 13-18.


Select versions of the PedsQL scales have been translated into many other languages. The developer’s website provides a complete list.


The PedsQL inventory takes around five minutes to complete and can be self-administered by parents, children and young people aged 8 to 18 after being introduced by a trained administrator. For younger children and as an alternative in special circumstances, clinicians can administer the inventory as long as instructions and all items are read word-for-word to the child or young person.

The inventory is intended to be completed before respondents complete any other health data forms and before seeing their physician or healthcare provider. Administration guidelines are available online.

Scoring and interpretation

Scoring the Generic Core Scales

Items on the PedsQL Generic Core Scales are reverse scored and transformed to a 0-100 scale. Higher scores indicate better health related quality of life:

0 (“Never”) = 100
1 (“Almost Never”) = 75
2 (“Sometimes”) = 50
3 (“Often”) = 25
4 (“Almost Always”) = 0

Scale scores are computed as the sum of the items over the number of items answered (to account for missing data). If more than 50% of items or more are missing, the Scale Score should not be computed.

Scoring Summary Scores

The Psychosocial Health Summary Score is the mean score on the Emotional, Social and School Functioning Scales.

The Physical Health Summary Score is the same as the Physical Functioning Scale Score.

Total Scale Score

The Total Scale Score is the mean of all items.

Terms of use

The PedsQL scales, modules and translations are protected by copyright with all rights reserved to Dr. James W. Varni. Licence fees vary according to study type and financing.

Further information

More information can be found online.


Varni, J.W., Seid, M. & Kurtin, P.S. (2001). PedsQL 4.0: Reliability and Validity of the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory Version 4.0 Generic Core Scales in Healthy and Patient Populations. Medical Care, 39(8), 800-812.  

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