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Encyclopedia > Quality of life

Quality of life is the degree of well-being felt by an individual or group of people. Unlike standard of living, quality of life is not a tangible concept, and therefore cannot be measured directly. Furthermore, quality of life consists of two components. The first is a physical aspect which includes such things as health, diet, as well as protection against pain and disease. The second component is psychological in nature. This aspect includes such things as stress, worry, pleasure and other positive or negative emotional states. It is virtually impossible to predict the quality of life of a specific individual, since the combination of attributes that leads one individual to be content is rarely the same for another individual. However, one can assume with some confidence the higher average level of diet, shelter, safety, as well as freedoms and rights a general population has, the better overall quality of life said population experiences. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality of life index is based on a unique methodology that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries. The standard of living refers to the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people and the way these services and goods are distributed within a population. ...

Understanding quality of life is today particularly important in health care, where monetary measures do not readily apply. Decisions on what research or treatments to invest the most in are closely related to their effect on a patient's quality of life. A physician visiting the sick in a hospital. ...

Organisational wellbeing looks at related factors from a corporate perspective, although this agenda is also informed by the employers' duty-of-care and external drivers such as the UK Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards for Stress (http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm). Organisational wellbeing looks at wellbeing issues that affect a company's staff and manages them to drive change and improve performance.


Measuring health-related quality of life (HRQoL)

The measures often used in the study of health care are 'quality-adjusted life years' (QALYs) and the related 'disability-adjusted life years' (DALYs); both equal 1 for each year of full-health life, and less than 1 for various degrees of illness or disability. Thus the cost-effectiveness of a treatment can be assessed by the cost per QALY or DALY it produces; for example, a cancer treatment which costs $1 million and on average gives the patient 2 extra years of full health costs $500,000 per QALY. Assessing treatments in this way avoids the much greater problems associated with putting a monetary value on life, as required in other areas of economics; saying that a treatment costs $5000 per QALY (i.e. per year of life) does not say or assume anything about the monetary value of a year of life or about the real quality of that life. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Quality-adjusted life years, or QALYs, are a way of measuring both the quality and the quantity of life lived, as a means of quantifying in benefit of a medical intervention. ... Disability-adjusted life years (DALY) is a measure for the overall burden of disease. ... For what some might view as of ultimate importance, see Intrinsic value (ethics). ...

Another method of measuring quality of life is by subtracting the "standard of living", according to the technical definition of the term. For example, people in rural areas and small towns are generally reluctant to move to cities, even if it would mean a substantial increase in their standard of living. One can thus see that the quality of life of living in a rural area is of enough value to offset a higher standard of living. Similarly people must be paid more to accept jobs that will lower their quality of life. Night jobs or ones with extensive travel all pay more, and the difference in salaries can also give a measure of the value of quality of life.

There is a growing field of research concerned with developing, evaluating and applying quality of life measures within health related research (e.g. within randomised controlled trials), especially Health Services Research. Many of these focus on the measurement of health related quality of life (HRQoL), rather than a more global conceptualisation of quality of life. They also focus on measuring HRQoL from the perspective of the patient and thus take the form of self completed questionnaires. The International Society for Quality of Life was founded in response to this research and is a useful source of information on this topic. Health services research is the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and quantity and quality of life. ...

A number of groups and agencies around the world have tried to develop ways of assessing quality of life - See the External Links.

Application in politics

North America

The term has often been used, since the 1980s and esp. 1990s, in connection with the presence or absence of so-called victimless crimes, its users in this sense citing the incidence of these to gauge the inherent level of disorder in a society at a particular time. Users of the term in this application — who tend to be political and/or social conservatives — often refer to victimless crimes by the alternate name of "quality-of-life crimes." In conjunction with this, American sociologist James Q. Wilson has articulated what he calls the Broken Window Theory, which asserts that relatively minor problems left unattended (such as public urination by homeless individuals) send a subliminal message that disorder in general is being tolerated, and as a result, more serious crimes will end up being committed (the analogy being that a broken window left unrepaired exudes an image of general dilapidation). Wilson's theories have been expounded by many prominent American mayors, most notably Oscar Goodman in Las Vegas, Richard Riordan in Los Angeles, Rudolph Giuliani (seen as its instigator) in New York City and Gavin Newsom in San Francisco. Their cities have instituted so-called zero tolerance policies, i.e. that do not tolerate even minor crimes. Victimless crime has the following applications: A victimless crime is one in which the victim is the accused. ... Social conservatism is a belief in traditional morality and social mores and the desire to preserve these in present day society, often through civil law or regulation. ... Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies. ... James Q. Wilson (born May 27, 1931) is the Ronald Reagan professor of public policy at Pepperdine University in California, and a professor emeritus at UCLA. He has a Ph. ... Broken windows in the Pruitt-Igoe housing development Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles is a criminology book published in 1996, about petty crime and strategies to contain or eliminate it from urban neighbourhoods. ... A homeless man pushes a cart down the street. ... A mayor (from the Latin māior, meaning larger, greater) is the modern title of the highest ranking municipal officer. ... Oscar Baylin Goodman (born on 1939-06-26 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an attorney and the Mayor of Las Vegas, Nevada. ... For further information, see Las Vegas metropolitan area and Las Vegas Strip. ... Richard J. Riordan (born May 1, 1930) is a Republican politician from California, U.S. who served as the California Secretary of Education from 2003–2005 and as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001. ... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... Rudolph William Louis Rudy Giuliani III, KBE (born May 28, 1944) served as the Mayor of New York City from January 1, 1994 through December 31, 2001. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Gavin Christopher Newsom (born October 10, 1967) is the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, California and a member of the Democratic Party. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Zero tolerance is a strict approach to rule enforcement. ...

One attempt to take quality of life more into account in government decisions is the notion of a seventh generation standard, which argues that the effect of any decision today should be judged by its effect in six generations. These measures are often associated in the United States with the proposed Seventh Generation Amendment proposal to the U.S. Constitution, and in Canada with the Canada Well-Being Measurement Act co-authored by Mike Nickerson of the Green Party of Ontario and Joe Jordan, a former Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament. This strategy still would be very difficult to implement as predicting the future is never easy. Decision makers seven generations ago in the early mid-nineteenth century would have great difficulty comprehending today's realities. The seventh generation standard is a concept that originates from indigenous North Americans who believed that the decisions of today should take into account the well being of the next seven generations. ... The Common Property Amendment, also known as the Seventh Generation Amendment, is a proposal to amend the United States Constitution to define common property and to ensure such property is protected for public use and the use by future generations. ... Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme... Canada Well-Being Measures Act was a measure proposed by Member of Parliament Marlene Jennings in 2001. ... The Green Party of Canada is intending to run a full slate of 308 candidates in the 2006 Canadian federal election. ... Joe Louis Jordan (born November 19, 1958 in Pembroke, Ontario) is a Canadian politician. ... The Liberal Party of Canada (French: ), colloquially known as the Grits (originally Clear Grits), is a Canadian federal political party. ... A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ...

Several First Nations in both Canada and U.S. seem to have independently originated this standard, prior to European contact, which seems to represent the age ratio between the longest-lived elders and newborns expressed in terms of generations, i.e. humans live at most 100-115 years, and reproduce in most tribal cultures at about 15-17 years old, a ratio of about seven to one. So, according to the standard, any child born as a decision was being made would be able to assess its impact over their entire life as an elder. Another interpretation would be that seven generations is beyond the lifespan of any individual, in effect ensuring that the results of decisions will occur in absentia. Thus, the choices for a decision should be made in consideration of persons that will never be met. In this way, the chooser and the resultants are equally anonymous to each other, removing any personal bias from the decision-making process. First Nations is a term of ethnicity that refers to the indigenous peoples in what is now Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis people. ...

Although laws to require standards for measuring well-being have not yet been adopted, they are growing in popularity in the labor movement, forced attention to these matters to the NAFTA level and have begun to challenge assumptions of economics regarding inflation and money supply. The labor movement (or labour movement) is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and political governments. ... Nafta or NAFTA may refer to: an acronym for the North American Free Trade Agreement an acronym for the New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement the town/Tokyo of Nafta, Tunisia This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... In macroeconomics, money supply (monetary aggregates, money stock) is the quantity of currency and money in bank accounts in the hands of the non-bank public available within the economy to purchase goods, services, and securities. ...

Early studies by JCMOPS In Dt 365 found that adopting the U.S. dollar (i.e. in both Canada and Mexico) have been drastically complicated by proposals to agree, as a prerequisite, on measuring well-being, which is still a very new subject. In part to stall or block currency union, the Canadian Labour Congress, Green Party of the United States, Green Party of Ontario and Green Party of Canada have all backed well-being measures very strongly. However, there is broad agreement among green economists that a common standard for measuring well-being, and possibly also Bioregional Democracy measures, would be required in order to ensure biosecurity after a currency union. In economics, a monetary union is a situation where several countries have agreed to share a single currency among them, for example, the East Caribbean Dollar. ... The Canadian Labour Congress, or CLC (in French le Congrès du travail du Canada or CTC) is the central labour body in Canada to which most Canadian labour unions are affiliated. ... In American politics, the Green Party is a third party which has been active in some areas since the 1980s, but first gained widespread public attention for Ralph Naders presidential runs in 1996 and 2000. ... The Green Party of Ontario (GPO) is a political party in Ontario, Canada. ... The Green Party of Canada is a Canadian federal political party founded in 1983. ... Green economics loosely defines a theory of economics by which an economy is considered to be component of the ecosystem in which it resides. ... Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e. ... A biosecurity guarantee attempts to ensure that ecologies sustaining either people or animals are maintained. ...

Cultural references

An independent American film entitled Quality of Life offers a fictionalized story of two young graffiti writers caught up in the harsh anti-graffiti crackdown under San Francisco's "quality-of-life laws". Quality of life is the degree of well-being felt by an individual or group of people. ...

See also

Activism, in a general sense, can be described as intentional action or inaction to bring about social or political change. ... Appropriate technology is technology that is appropriate to the environmental, cultural and economic situation it is intended for. ... Auxology is a meta-term covering the study of all aspects of human physical growth; though it is also a fundamental of biology generally. ... The Canadian Index of Wellbeing is a cooperative effort among several nonprofit institutions concerned with measuring well-being in Canada. ... The overall objectives in the field of Civil Protection are to ensure better protection of people, the environment, economies and infrastructure in the event of major natural or man-made disasters, including accidental marine pollution, chemical spills. ... For other uses, see Community (disambiguation). ... Copenhagen Consensus is a project which seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. ... The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a concept in green economics and welfare economics that has been suggested as a replacement metric for gross domestic product (GDP) as a metric of economic growth. ... Great Transition is a vision created by environmental scholars of the Global Scenario Group of how humanity could create a planetary civilization that reflects egalitarian social and ecological values, affirms diversity, and defeats poverty, war, and environmental destruction. ... GDP redirects here. ... Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an attempt to define a standard of living in more holistic and psychological terms than Gross National Product. ... Happy Planet Index, highest rank to lowest rank . ... Health services research is the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and quantity and quality of life. ... This article is about the concept of the meaning of life. ... A patient-reported outcome or PRO is a questionnaire specifically used in clinical trial research. ... Pharmacoeconomics refers to the scientific discipline that compares the value of one pharmaceutical drug or drug therapy to another. ... The physical quality-of-life index (PQLI) is an attempt to measure the quality of life or well-being of a country. ... The Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality of life index is based on a unique methodology that links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys to the objective determinants of quality of life across countries. ... Simple living (or voluntary simplicity) is a lifestyle individuals choose to minimize the more-is-better pursuit of wealth and consumption. ... Social security primarily refers to social welfare service concerned with social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. ... The standard of living refers to the quality and quantity of goods and services available to people and the way these services and goods are distributed within a population. ... Subjective life satisfaction is a measure of an individuals perceived level of well-being. ... The Earth Day flag includes a NASA photo. ... The Vanderford-Riley well-being schedule is a measure of well-being used by some economists. ... The Worlds Most Livable Cities is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on a reputable annual survey of living conditions. ...

External links

Intelligent Giving is a website for charity donors run by a small, not-for-profit company based in Bethnal Green, London. ... // The Mercer name first appeared in Canada in 1945, when William Manson Mercer founded the benefits consulting firm of William M. Mercer, Limited. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Quality of Life (1933 words)
Here we will say that fitness or 'Quality of Life' is a multidimensional set of values, unique to each organism, person and context.
Quality of Life is often defined in a very negative way, simply as the absence of health threatening hazards from the environment or as the absence of disease or medical problems.
Our world today is far from perfect, and the negative effects on our quality of life is obvious - whether as a result of the need to commute for hours a day, suffering arrogant and insensitive leaders, of intrusive noise or all the other obstructive and restrictive practices that comprise our societies.
THE MERCK MANUAL OF GERIATRICS, Ch. 12, Quality of Life and Therapeutic Objectives (1232 words)
Health-related quality of life is best evaluated based on the patient's experiences, relationships with family members and friends, and cultural background.
Evaluation of the severity of pain as perceived by the patient and of its effects on comfort, activities, and quality of life enables a clinician to determine when the focus of treatment must be relief of pain and suffering.
Life expectancy based on predictions related to a cohort (eg, nearly 20 yr for a 65-yr-old woman, 16 yr for a 65-yr-old man) cannot be the sole criterion for treatment decisions.
  More results at FactBites »



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