Definition of Quality of Life(QoL)
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of life as ‘a broad ranging concept affected in a complex way by the person’s physical health, psychological state, level of independence, social relationships and their relationship to the salient features in their environment’ (WHO QoL Group 1993).
Quality of life refers to the degree of excellence people appraise their lives to contain.
People around the world appraise excellence with similar criteria, such as performing daily activities, energy or discomfort, positive and negative feelings, personal control, interpersonal relations, pleasant activities, personal and intellectual growth, and material possessions (Gill & Feinstein, 1994; Power et al., 1999).
Components of Quality of life(QoL)
As per Kahn & Juster, 2002; Power, Bullinger, Harper, & the WHO QoL Group, (1999), Quality of life has several components—
- Physical functioning,
- Psychological status,
- Social functioning,
- Disease- or treatment-related symptoms
Researchers focus on how much the disease and its treatment interfere with the activities of daily living, such as sleeping, eating, going to work, and engaging in recreational activities.
For patients with more advanced diseases, such assessments include whether the patient is able to bathe, dress, use the toilet, be mobile, be continent, and eat without assistance.
Essentially, then, quality-of-life assessments gauge the extent to which a patient’s normal life activities have been compromised by disease and treatment. A broad array of measures is available for evaluating quality of life in both adults ( Hazuda, Gerety, Lee, Mulrow, & Lichtenstein, 2002; Logsdon, Gibbons, McCurry, & Teri, 2002) and children (Varni, Burwinkle, Rapoff, Kamps, & Olson, 2004).
Why to Study Quality of Life?
- Documentation of how illness affects the activities of daily living can guide interventions designed to improve quality of life.
- Quality-of-life measures can help pinpoint exactly which problems are likely to emerge for patients with which diseases.
- Quality-of-life measures assess the impact of treatments. For example, if a cancer treatment has mediocre survival rates and produces adverse side effects, the treatment may be more harmful than the disease.
- Quality-of-life information can be used to compare therapies. For example, if two therapies produce approximately equivalent survival rates but one lowers quality of life substantially, the treatment that keeps quality of life high is preferable.
- Quality-of-life information can inform practitioners about care that will maximize long-term survival with the highest quality of life possible (Kaplan, 2003).
Reference for Quality of Life (QoL)
- Ogden, J. (2017). Health psychology: A textbook (4th Ed.).McGraw Hill Education.
- Sarafino, Edward P and Smith, Timothy W (2012). Health Psychology – Bio psychosocial Interaction (7th Ed). Wiley India Edition.
- Taylor, Shelley E. (2018). Health Psychology (10th Ed). McGraw Hill Higher Education. Indian Edition