This phrase is relative because what is seen as quality of life in one place or time may not be the same for another place or the same place at another time. It also relative because different people will perceive 'the good life' in different ways depending on their position in society. These issues aside, quality of life may be taken to mean 'life satisfaction' or 'subjective well-being' (see, for example, the American Thoracic Society, 2002). As such, quality of life has a number of dimensions, including (a) physical and material well-being; (b) relationships with other people; (c) engagement in social, community and civic activities; (d) personal development and fulfilment; and (e) recreation.
(see also health status) The extent to which an individual perceives himself or herself able to function physically, psychologically and socially.
More accurately health-related quality of life. The individual's overall appraisal of their situation and subjective sense of well-being. Quality of life encompasses symptoms of disease and side-effects of treatment, functional capacity, social interactions and relationships, and occupational functioning. Key psychological aspects include subjective distress, satisfaction with treatment, existential issues, and the impact of illness and treatment on sexuality and body image. There is general acceptance of the operational definition in terms of patients' ability to function physically, mentally, spiritually and socially, and the extent of the symptoms of both the disease and its treatment. There are a number of standardised measures of quality of life ranging in sophistication from the simple visual scale through to comprehensive self administered questionnaires. Some questionnaires have been designed for specific diseases or conditions, including several directed specifically at cancer. These standardised measures have demonstrated validity and reliability.