The Silver Lining Questionnaire

Primary use / Purpose:

The Silver Lining Questionnaire measures the extent to which people believe their illness has had a positive benefit despite the negative consequences of being ill. Research suggests that this positive interpretation is not due to a form of self-delusion but instead reflects personal growth and that it can be enhanced by the context. Its role in recovery from illness is complex.

Author of Tool:

Samantha C. Sodergren and Michael E. Hyland

Key references:

1. Sodergren, S. C. & Hyland, M. E. (1997). Qualitative phase in the development of the Silver Lining Questionnaire. Quality of Life Research, 6, (7-8), 365.

2. Sodergren, S. C., & Hyland, M. E. (2000). What are the positive consequences of illness? Psychology and Health, 15, 85-97.

3. Sodergren, S. C., Hyland, M. E., Singh, S. J., & Sewell, L. (2002). The effect of rehabilitation on positive interpretations of illness. Psychology and Health; 17, 753-760.

4. Sodergren, S. C., Hyland, M. E., Crawford, A., Partridge, M. R. (2004). Positivitiy in illness: self-delusion or existential growth? British Journal of Health Psychology, 9, 163-174.

5. Hyland, M. E., Sodergren, S. C., & Lewith, G. T. (in press). The role of positivity in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Journal of Health Psychology.


The Silver Lining Questionnaire

What is this questionnaire all about?

Although illness can be a distressing experience, some people who have or have had an illness talk about its positive aspects. This questionnaire asks you to think about this positive side of illness.

How do I complete this questionnaire?

On the next two pages, there are 38 statements about the experience of being ill. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement by circling a number between 5 “strongly agree” and 1 “strongly disagree”. There are no right or wrong answers, your own personal views are important.

An example to help you:

I appreciate other people more because of my illness strongly agree agree not sure disagree strongly disagree
  5 4 3 2 1

If you strongly feel that you appreciate other people more now as a result of your illness, you would circle the number five.

Please complete:       Age .................................

Sex (tick)         Male      □    Female □

Please write any illnesses you have

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  • 1. I appreciate life more because of my illness
  • 2. My illness gave me a new start in life
  • 3. My life is much better now than it was before my illness
  • 4. My illness has made me live life to its fullest
  • 5. Because of my illness I find it easier to accept what life has in store
  • 6. My illness made me think about the true purpose of life
  • 7. My religious / spiritual beliefs deepened because of my illness
  • 8. I am now more open to other religions because of my illness
  • 9. My illness made me a better person
  • 10. I became a happier person because of my illness
  • 11. I am a calmer person because of my illness
  • 12. My illness made me more mature
  • 13. My illness made me a more tolerant person
  • 14. My illness made me realize that I matter as a person
  • 15. My illness gave me more confidence
  • 16. I am less concerned about failure because of my illness
  • 17. My illness gave me permission to do things for myself
  • 18. My illness made me a more determined person
  • 19. My illness helped me find myself
  • 20. My illness made me more aware of my strengths
  • 21. Through my illness I discovered a talent I didn’t know I had
  • 22. I can face whatever is around the corner because of my illness
  • 23. My illness encouraged me to reflect on how I feel about myself
  • 24. My illness made me face up to problem areas of my life
  • 25. My illness strengthened my relationships with others
  • 26. My illness made me less concerned with the approval of others
  • 27. Because of my illness I have more to offer other people
  • 28. My illness made me more at ease with others
  • 29. I see others in their true colours because of my illness
  • 30. My illness gave me the opportunity to meet new people
  • 31. My illness taught me how to stand up for myself
  • 32. My illness made me put an end to troublesome relationships
  • 33. My illness made me less judgmental of others
  • 34. I have been an inspiration to others
  • 35. People can be more open with me since my illness
  • 36. My illness changed other people for the better
  • 37. My illness changed other people’s perception of me for better
  • 38. Other people appreciate me more because of my illness