BACKGROUND The impact of community resettlement on the quality of life of people with long-term psychiatric disorders, is evaluated in a longitudinal study.METHOD A repeated measures design was used to examine the sensitivity of an adapted version of Lehman's Quality of Life Interview in evaluating change. Completed interviews were carried out with 29 of the original cohort at one year post-discharge. The relationship between quality of life and ratings of client functioning is explored.RESULTS Significant changes in the objective quality of life indices include improved living conditions (F = 40.00, P < 0.001), higher levels of social contact (F = 29.52, P < 0.01) and increased leisure activities (F = 4.57, P < 0.05). Apart from increased satisfaction with living situation (F = 6.94, P < 0.01), there were no significant changes in the subjective indices. Ratings of psychiatric state and social functioning did not significantly correlate with global quality of life at one year post-discharge.CONCLUSIONS Concerns in relation to the sensitivity of life satisfaction ratings in evaluating programme interventions are raised.