20 Years of ICF—International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: Uses and Applications around the World

Matilde Leonardi, Haejung Lee, Nenad Kostanjsek, Arianna Fornari, Alberto Raggi, Andrea Martinuzzi, Manuel Yáñez, Ann Helene Almborg, Magdalena Fresk, Yanina Besstrashnova, Alexander Shoshmin, Shamyr Sulyvan Castro, Eduardo Santana Cordeiro, Marie Cuenot, Christine Haas, Soraya Maart, Thomas Maribo, Janice Miller, Masahiko Mukaino, Stefanus SnymanUlrike Trinks, Heidi Anttila, Jaana Paltamaa, Patricia Saleeby, Lucilla Frattura, Ros Madden, Catherine Sykes, Coen H.van Gool, Jakub Hrkal, Miroslav Zvolský, Petra Sládková, Marie Vikdal, Guðrún Auður Harðardóttir, Josephine Foubert, Robert Jakob, Michaela Coenen, Olaf Kraus de Camargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) was approved in 2001 and, since then, several studies reported the increased interest about its use in different sectors. A recent overview that summarizes its applications is lacking. This study aims to provide an updated overview about 20 years of ICF application through an international online questionnaire, developed by the byline authors, and sent to each World Health Organization Collaborating Centers of the Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC CCs). Data was collected during October 2020 and December 2021 and descriptive content analyses were used to report main results. Results show how, in most of the respondent countries represented by WHO-FIC CCs, ICF was mainly used in clinical practice, policy development and social policy, and in education areas. Despite its applications in different sectors, ICF use is not mandatory in most countries but, where used, it provides a biopsychosocial framework for policy development in health, functioning and disability. The study provides information about the needs related to ICF applications, that can be useful to organize targeted intervention plans. Furthermore, this survey methodology can be re-proposed periodically to monitor the use of the ICF in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11321
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 09-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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