This paper attempts to develop a more thorough understanding of the different components of subjective quality of life (SQL). Based on that understanding and other theoretical considerations, the utility of SQL measures in evaluation and planning is discussed. It is concluded that the use of SQL measures in evaluation will mostly be limited to community support programs for chronic mental patients. Contrary to prior research focus, the potential of SQL measures seems to lie in its contribution to need assessment, when considered together with objective social indicators. Life-domains scales are most relevant for the purposes discussed above. Copyright © 1988 Published by Elsevier Ltd.