The relationship between quality of life and self-determination: an international study


Yves Lachapelle, PhD, Université du Québec Trois-Rivières, Département de Psychoéducation, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada G9A 5H7 (e-mail:


Background  The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between self-determination and quality of life (QOL) of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID) living in four countries (Canada, United States, Belgium and France).

Method  Participants were 182 adults with mild ID living in community settings (with families, living independently or in supported living environments). QOL was measured with the Quality of Life Questionnaire. Self-determination was measured using the Adult version of The Arc's Self-Determination Scale. Discriminant function and correlational analyses were conducted.

Results  Discriminant function analysis indicated that essential characteristics of self-determination predicted membership in the high QOL group and that overall self-determination and QOL were significantly correlated, as were sub-scale scores.

Conclusions  The study replicates findings from a previous study with an international sample and confirms the importance of self-determination to enhance QOL. Subsequent research should examine the direction of the relationship between self-determination and QOL and examine the relationship of essential characteristics of self-determined behaviour and core domains of QOL in greater detail.