OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between remission and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with SLE in a longitudinal observational cohort. METHODS: HRQoL was measured at cohort visits using the physical and mental component score (PCS and MCS, respectively) of the Short Form 36 questionnaire. Definitions of Remission in SLE remission categories (no remission/remission on therapy/remission off therapy) were applied. Determinants of PCS and MCS were identified with simple linear regression analyses. Association between remission and HRQoL was assessed using generalized estimating equation models. RESULTS: Data from 154 patients with 2 years of follow-up were analysed. At baseline 60/154 (39.0%) patients were in either form of remission. Patients in remission had higher Short Form 36 scores in all subdomains compared with patients not in remission. PCS was positively associated with remission and employment, and negatively associated with SLICC damage index, ESR, medication, patient global assessment and BMI. MCS was positively associated with Caucasian ethnicity and negatively associated with patient global assessment. In generalized estimating equation analysis, a gradual and significant increase of PCS was observed from patients not in remission (mean PCS 36.0) to remission on therapy (41.8) to remission off therapy (44.8). No significant difference in MCS was found between remission states. CONCLUSION: we show a strong and persistent association between remission and PCS, but not MCS. These results support the relevance (construct validity) of the Definition of Remission in SLE remission definitions and the further development of a treat-to-target approach in SLE.