• assessment;
  • psychometrics;
  • quality of life;
  • questionnaires;
  • symptom severity;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • validation;
  • women

Aims and objectives

To provide an up-to-date assessment of the quality of commonly recommended questionnaires for measuring symptom severity and quality of life in women with urinary incontinence and also to consider their application to practice.


Urinary incontinence is a common problem for women. In addition to various physical symptoms, there is a known effect on quality of life. Psychometrically robust questionnaires are reported to be the best way to measure an individual's perceptions of symptom severity and quality of life, and a number of different ones are recommended for use in international and national guidance, which can be confusing for clinicians. Moreover, there are concerns over the applicability of some of these instruments in clinical practice.


An evaluative review was carried out examining selected questionnaires measuring symptom severity and/or quality of life.


Selection of questionnaires for inclusion in the review was based on the recommendations of evidence-based guidance, followed by systematic scrutiny of the characteristics of the individual recommended questionnaires.


Thirteen questionnaires were included in the review, of which three appeared to ‘outperform’ the remainder in terms of their psychometric properties and other characteristics.


This review provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of the quality and applicability of the included questionnaires and offers the practitioner advice on which to select for use in practice.

Relevance to clinical practice

This review aims to help the practitioner choose a questionnaire based on a sound evaluation of the quality of the questionnaire and its applicability to the clinical setting.