IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Life quality vs the 'quality of life':: assumptions underlying prospective quality of life instruments in health care planning


  • Koch, Tom


Quality of Life is a broad construct used in health planning, health economics, and medical decision-making. It is also a term that has a long currency in social and sociological literatures. This paper considers the assumptions underlying prospective QL instruments in an historical and contemporary context. It argues that as a tool in health planning and in clinical decision making life quality as a measurement has its origins in the early eugenics literature and the social policies that derived from it in first North America, the primary focus of this paper, and later in Europe. Reference to narrative and social literatures, as well as those involving coping and adaptation, are then used to critique the assumptions underlying this class of QL instruments. It concludes that to the degree now current prospective instruments reflect a purely physical perspective of "disease burden" irrespective of social conditions they create a context that works against life quality, and in some cases, the continuance of persons with physical differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Koch, Tom, 2000. "Life quality vs the 'quality of life':: assumptions underlying prospective quality of life instruments in health care planning," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 419-427, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:3:p:419-427

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:3:p:419-427. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.