The main aim of the present study was to adapt an instrument measuring patients' adjustment to life with an ostomy to Swedish conditions and to test reliability and validity of the adapted instrument. The Ostomy Adjustment Scale (OAS), which is focused on three domains: physical function, psychologic state, and social interaction, was selected as suitable. After translation into Swedish, equivalence and internal consistency of the scale were calculated. Subjects with various types of urine or faeces diversions were recruited for self-rating with the OAS and a visual analogue scale estimating total quality of life (QOL). The instruments were tested in 48 patients with five different diagnoses, 36 with and 12 without ostomy, and re-tests were carried out in 25 of the patients. Reliability (Cronbach's alpha) was 0.95. A positive correlation was found between the OAS and QOL (r = 0.67), indicating that the instrument has some validity.