In recent years Quality of Life (QOL) measures for children and adolescents have been developed, initially for children with specific chronic illnesses, but more recently generic and Health-Related QOL (HRQOL) measures have been developed. This paper reviews the development of the concept of QOL and other related concepts. Problems in assessing QOL in children and young people are discussed. Six criteria by which the QOL measures for children and adolescents can be evaluated are given. Eight generic or HRQOL measures completed by children or adolescents are evaluated in some detail. Although psychometrically sound several measures do not have a good standardization sample to date, although many include child-generated questions. Environmental aspects of QOL and qualitative aspects are often missing. Many of the European measures have an English translation and most are in the process of being further developed to include different forms for different age groups and to include disease-specific sections. There is scope for the development of a new measure which covers all the criteria. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.