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EQ-5D and EQ-5L are two popular tools used to measure health-related quality of life. Both instruments were developed by the EuroQol Group, a non-profit research organization based in the Netherlands. While both tools share similarities, they differ in several ways. In this article, we will explore the differences between EQ-5D and EQ-5L.


EQ-5D is a standardized instrument that assesses an individual's health status across five dimensions: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression. Each dimension has three levels: no problems, some problems, and extreme problems. Respondents select the level that best describes their health status for each dimension.

The EQ-5D is widely used in research and clinical settings, as it provides a simple and standardized method for assessing health-related quality of life. It is also useful for comparing the health status of different populations and for assessing the effectiveness of different treatments.

One limitation of EQ-5D is that it may not capture all aspects of an individual's health status, as it only measures five dimensions. Additionally, the three-level response options may not provide enough granularity to differentiate between different levels of severity within each dimension.


EQ-5L is a newer version of EQ-5D that was developed to address some of the limitations of the original instrument. EQ-5L assesses the same five dimensions as EQ-5D but uses a five-level response scale for each dimension. The response options for each dimension are: no problems, slight problems, moderate problems, severe problems, and extreme problems.

The additional response options in EQ-5L provide more granularity in assessing an individual's health status. This increased sensitivity may be particularly useful for detecting small changes in health status over time or for identifying subgroups of individuals with specific health needs.

Another advantage of EQ-5L is that it has been shown to have higher responsiveness and discriminatory power than EQ-5D in certain patient populations, such as those with chronic pain or mental health disorders.

However, the increased granularity of EQ-5L comes at a cost of increased complexity and longer completion time. EQ-5L has 3125 possible health states compared to only 243 health states in EQ-5D, which may make it more difficult to compare health status across different populations or interventions.

Which one should you use?

The choice between EQ-5D and EQ-5L depends on the specific research or clinical context. EQ-5D may be more appropriate for studies that require a brief, standardized assessment of health-related quality of life, such as large population-based surveys. EQ-5L may be more appropriate for studies that require a more detailed assessment of health status, such as clinical trials or studies focused on specific patient populations.

In conclusion, EQ-5D and EQ-5L are two useful instruments for measuring health-related quality of life. While they share similarities, they differ in terms of response options, granularity, and complexity. Researchers and clinicians should carefully consider their specific needs and context when selecting between the two instruments.

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