The concept of quality of life was born in the social sciences in the 1970s. It has also entered the field of medicine and health in a short time and this concept has been accepted as a criterion for evaluating health interventions. The World Health Organization defines the quality of life as the subjective perception of individuals’ cultural contexts and life positions in value systems in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns. This is a very complex and articulated concept, and indeed, an overview of this topic should be thoroughly examined and clarified. Synthetically, it is important to know that the quality of life is determined by the perception of one’s physical, psychological and emotional health, the degree of personal independence, social relationships, and it depends on the type of interaction with the context of the person. It is also important to note that this structure is broader than health, is not synonymous, and the World Health Organization’s definition of this issue links together elements from the enormous number of studies.
In this sense, being healthy is considered as one of many quality of life dimensions and health facilitating behaviors are considered as determinants of quality of life itself. Moreover, the definition of quality of life always refers to the physical state of the individual, but is not evaluated solely based on a person’s bodily functions. It can be determined with standardized parameters because it is defined in relation to the relevant perceived satisfaction level. Such a definition shifts the emphasis from objectively identifiable functionality to the dimension of subjectivity; The determination of these two aspects can constitute a reliable quality of life measure. In addition, the most common method for measuring quality of life is the administration of questionnaires, as well as two types of questionnaires specifically for generic and pathology.
Historical Overview of the Development and Scientific Evaluation of the Concept
The debate regarding the quality of life is very old. Starting with early Greece, Plato has devoted several years of his life to developing an excellent government where quality of life for citizens is mainstream. However, the quality of life was not yet known exactly at that time. It was actually introduced later in the 1970s. Quality of life is synthetically defined as a person’s judgment about various aspects of his or her physical, social, and psychological well-being. The increasing importance of self-assessment of life dimensions supports the development of a more precise definition of this concept and the need for a scientific evaluation using psychometric standardized tests. Thus, an attempt to develop a scientific quality of life assessment was born. The World Health Organization therefore initiated a special study aimed at establishing a rigorous measurement of this structure.
The particular need to develop this research has arisen for a number of reasons. First, in recent years, there has been an expanding focus on measuring health outcomes beyond traditional health indicators (such as morbidity and mortality). The inclusion of perceived health measures are the impact of disease and disorder on daily activities and behavior, and measures of functional status / disability status. It should also be noted that while these questionnaires begin to provide a general measure of the impact of the disease, they do not actually assess the specific quality of the disease.
That is why some specific questionnaires were developed later to measure quality of life in terms of discriminating diseases. A criticism has arisen as many health status measures have been developed in the UK and North America. Their translation seems rather inadequate and time consuming for their use in other media. The third important reason is the need to move beyond the increasingly mechanized model of medicine that deals solely with the elimination of diseases and symptoms. The awareness that this model is outdated has strengthened the need for a new humanitarian perspective to healthcare. It is widely accepted that healthcare is essentially a humanitarian process where the well-being of the patient is the primary goal. It no longer just relieves symptoms, it becomes more inclusive and complete. To overcome these causes, the World Health Organization has reported that health is not physical condition, mental and social well-being, just the absence of illness and fatigue. Exactly in 1995, this organization is the quality of life, the position of individuals in life. It is also extensive and clearly defined as their subjective perception of their living contexts, cultures, and value systems and their achievement of their goals.
As a result, it is a very complex concept in which quality of life refers to various dimensions. Perception of the physical, psychological and emotional health of the person, the degree of independence of the individual, the type of interaction with social relationships and their own life contexts. As expected, therefore, the concept of quality of life appears to be broader than the concept of health, which is not synonymous with health. But it is also intertwined with this concept and the concept of a biopsychosocial paradigm.
The definition of quality of life given by the World Health Organization connects many studies. Being in good health in this way is considered only one dimension of quality of life. Health-facilitating behaviors are considered to be predictors of quality of life itself. These aspects must be accepted in order to separate the concept of quality of life from the concept of health. It is important to note that the definition always refers to the physical state of the subject, but it is not enough to describe the quality of a person’s functionality. Second, it can be determined with standardized parameters. Because it is mostly associated with the perceived satisfaction level and physical functionality level according to these standardized parameters.
There is a quality of life that shifts the emphasis from the scope of objectively definable functionality to the focus of subjectivity. In the field of objectivity, disease is defined as a defined clinical, physical condition (disease) and different functional areas (study area, psychological field, social field, etc.). It is also important to note that quality of life refers to a subjective perspective that is embedded in a cultural, social and environmental context. In different geographical regions, there may be different concepts and different cultural values that can affect the perception of people. It is also important to note that the World Health Organization’s definition of quality of life focuses on the participants’ perceived quality of life. It does not require any detailed symptoms, conditions, extent of illness, or objectively assessed disability. Instead, it requires the perceived effects of illness and health interventions on a person’s quality of life. Based on this point of view, an assessment of this multidimensional concept has been developed that combines the individual’s perception of health, psychosocial, and other aspects of life. For several years, the importance of moving beyond individual monitoring of quality of life has also been highlighted, and in 2003 Ingrosso, an Italian researcher, encouraged collective and social research in this area. In particular, he notes that the issue of quality of life can characterize the perspective of a local community and its dynamics.
In this broader definition of quality of life, individuals of a wholesale population are based on their own orientations and experiences of certain personal and collective endowments. For this reason, it refers to their evaluation of their comparison according to their own needs and value scale. He set out as an example of how citizens of a particular local community can express their judgments about the adequacy or inadequacy of policies or intervention complexes implemented in a particular geographic area. He also drew attention to the fact that in recent years discussions on quality of life have generally partially disappeared. The debate is also divided between the extensibility of the objective component and the subjective, so that the concept of collective, contextual, relational, and operational evaluation, in which the term was first used since the 1970s. has lost. Thus, scientific research can change the collective knowledge on this subject. It can encourage citizens to think about some aspects of the lines of intervention that are directly or indirectly consistent with their expectations. Therefore, not only quantitative methods such as indicators and surveys, but also dynamic surveys such as qualitative research and participatory research-process methods are useful for the purposes of these surveys. Today, the social aspect of quality of life is increasingly present. Hence the concept of quality of life now refers to the more or less desirable economic and social environment of a town. Usually closely related to livable and livable terms. In a metropolis or a country these terms have become part of the common language today.
Author: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu