Defining and applying the concept of quality of life

J Intellect Disabil Res. 1997 Apr;41 ( Pt 2):126-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.1997.tb00689.x.


Quality of life has been increasingly used as a scientific concept in literature embracing a wide range of target groups and populations as a whole. Conceptualizations vary, but there is much common ground concerning the domain content embraced by the term. Commentators are also clear that account needs to be taken of both objective life conditions and subjective personal appraisals, and the fact that what is important to each person varies. A synthesis of these perspectives provides a model of quality of life which integrates objective and subjective indicators and individual values across a broad range of life domains. Life domain issues may be categorized within six areas: physical, material, social, productive, emotional and civic well-being. Whatever its precise specification, the model is put forward as a framework for organizing measurement relevant to the quality of life concept rather than as a blueprint for deriving the ultimate single instrument. There is still a need for methodological flexibility. The pre-eminent aim is to relate the fine grain of the experience of individuals with disability to that of the wider world.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life*