To assess the performance of the Incontinence Quality of Life (I-QOL) Instrument in measuring the impact of urinary incontinence on the quality of life of family medicine patients.
Postal survey. Multiple imputations of missing answers. Linear regression analysis of I-QOL predictors. Comparison by receiver operating characteristic of the I-QOL and the Short Form 12 (SF-12).
Women 45 years or older attending either of 2 family medicine clinics. Response rate was 605 (61%) of 992.
Prevalence of stress, urge, and mixed incontinence. Scores on the I-QOL and SF-12 instruments.
Of the 605 respondents, 310 (51%) reported urinary incontinence in the month before the survey. One or more items were missing on 19% of the I-QOL scales and scores were imputed. The relation between I-QOL and the number of leakage episodes was nonlinear. I-QOL scores decreased with the number of episodes, the amount of leakage, and poorer general health. There was no association between the I-QOL and age, education, or type of incontinence. The I-QOL was more sensitive than the SF-12 to the statement, "urinary incontinence is a problem."
The I-QOL is a useful instrument for the investigation of incontinence-related quality of life in the community setting.