Quality of life is complex and often difficult to define. Many factors can influence a person’s quality of life, both inside and outside their direct control. These factors vary from person to person, from place to place and change over time. Multiple sclerosis (MS) can have an impact on these factors at any time.

A lot of research in this area focuses on the impact of loss of employment at an individual and society level. Assessing the benefits of lifestyle modifications, exercise and diet is also an important area of research.

Health-related quality of life measures can be generic or disease-specific. Generic measures include areas like pain or mobility which are widely acknowledged to influence health-related quality of life. Examples of such measures are the SF36 and EuroQol.

For MS, these measures include the Functional Assessment of MS (FAMS), or two scales based on the generic SF36; the MS Quality of Life health survey (MSQoL 54) and the MS Quality of Life Index (MSQoLI).

Developing better tools to measure quality of life is an important area of research. Recent studies have focused on patient reported outcome measures (PROMS). Such measures are important in assessing the impact of a treatment or therapy, including rehabilitation strategies.