BACKGROUND: Spirituality has been considered as an important quality of life dimension. OBJECTIVES: To present a literature review about quality of life and spirituality, their association and measurement. METHODS: Search for title words in PsycINFO and PubMed/Medline database between 1979-2005. RESULTS: Quality of life is a new concept, that embraces and transcends the concept of health. It is composed by several domains or dimensions: physical, psychological, environmental, among others. Called "the missing measure in health", it has been defined as the individual’s perception of his/her position in life, considering cultural and value systems in which he/she lives, and in relation to his/her goals, expectations, standards and worries. There are consistent evidences of the association between quality of life and spirituality/religiosity, obtained from studies with reasonable methodological rigor, using many variables to assess spirituality (for example: religious affiliation, prayer, and spiritual/religious coping). There are also several valid and reliable quality of life instruments that assess the spiritual/religious dimension. CONCLUSIONS: New studies are needed especially in Brazil. These studies will provide empirical data to be used to plan spiritually based health care interventions, aimingat a a better quality of life.
Quality of life; spirituality; religiosity; assessment