Quality of life (QOL) is a dynamic concept that means different things to different people, both in the general public and within the research community. Because of this, a common definition of QOL has been hard to achieve. This article reviews cross-cultural issues related to QOL research in spinal cord injury (SCI). Many factors influence QOL for persons with SCI, including observable and objective indicators and subjective self-report ones. The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Function, Disability and Health is used in this article as a framework to better understand how these factors may influence QOL. A number of important steps are summarized with respect to measurement issues in QOL. A comparison between data from 2 countries (United States and Brazil) using the International SCI QOL Basic Data Set shows similarities in scores and good reliability in the Brazilian sample. Substantial, significant correlations were observed among the SCI QOL Basic Data Set items and the WHOQOL-BREF within the US sample. The article ends with a set of recommendations for the development of cross-cultural measures of QOL for use in the SCI population.

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