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Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI)

Last reviewed: January 2024

Author(s): Dr Sally Monda, Paediatric Resident; Dr Neda So, Dermatology Registrar; and A/Prof David Orchard, Dermatologist, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Reviewing dermatologist: Dr Ian Coulson

Edited by the DermNet content department

This DermNet article has been produced with permission of Cardiff University.


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What is the DLQI?

The Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) was the first dermatology-specific quality of life questionnaire, first published in 1994 by Professor A Y Finlay and Dr G K Khan. It is comprised of 10 questions that aim to measure the health-related quality of life in adult patients with skin diseases.

The DLQI is a validated quality of life instrument that has been mentioned in over 3000 publications, used in over 80 countries, and is available in 110 translations. It is also the most commonly applied questionnaire to measure health-related quality of life in patients in dermatology. The DLQI is used to measure the impact of skin disease worldwide and is one of the most frequently used patient outcome measures in dermatological randomised controlled trials.

Who uses the DLQI?

The DLQI is intended for use in patients aged 16 years and older. For patients less than 16 years of age, the Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index (CDLQI) is available.

The DLQI is available to be used by clinicians and patients to assist in the dermatology consultation, evaluation, and decision-making process. The questionnaire is also accessible to pharmaceutical companies, for-profit organisations, students, and researchers.

It can be used episodically by the same patient to track the impact of therapies on dermatological conditions, with the emphasis being on quality of life change rather than just objective improvement in skin disease.

Limitations of the DLQI

It may be less applicable to some patients (eg, the elderly or widowed) as there are domains relating to work and sexual difficulties that may not be relevant. There is no domain for difficulties with sleep, which can be a significant factor for some patients and skin conditions.

Completing the DLQI

The DLQI is a straightforward self-assessment and on average takes two minutes to complete. 

It consists of ten questions which ask about symptoms, feelings, daily activities, leisure, work, school, personal relationships, and treatment. Every question asked relates to the previous week. The user can tick a box in either: ‘not at all’, ‘a little’, ‘a lot’ or ‘very much’. Questions are scored from 0 to 3 and totalled, giving an overall score out of 30. The final score ranges from 0 (no impact on quality of life) to 30 (maximum impairment).

The DLQI is available in both Word and PDF formats in multiple languages, with the most up-to-date version available on the Cardiff University website here.

 

References

  • Cardiff University. Dermatology Life Quality Index. Accessed 2023 June 10. Available here 
  • Finlay AY, Khan GK. Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI)--a simple practical measure for routine clinical use. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 1994;19(3):210–216. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.1994.tb01167.x. Journal
  • Lewis V, Finlay AY. Ten years experience of the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2004;9(2):169–180. doi: 10.1111/j.1087-0024.2004.09113.x. Journal
  • Rencz F, Gulácsi L, Péntek M, et al. DLQI‐R scoring improves the discriminatory power of the Dermatology Life Quality Index in patients with psoriasis, pemphigus and morphea. British Journal of Dermatology. 2020 May;182(5):1167–1175. doi: 10.1111/bjd.18435. Journal 

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