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Health-related quality of life research and the capability approach of Amartya Sen

By M.A. Verkerk, J.J. Busschbach and E.D. Karssing


Standardised health-related quality of life questionnaires play an increasing role as measures of outcome in the evaluation of health care interventions. However, problems can arise when the selected functions or dimensions of such standardised measures are not in line with the intervention that is the focus of the research. Furthermore, the subjective element of quality of life makes standardised questionnaires vulnerable to the coping mechanism, thereby decreasing their sensitivity. The capability approach of the economist and philosopher Amartya Sen offers a descriptive concept that contributes to a better understanding of these problems. This article provides an introduction to the ideas of Sen for researchers who wish to go beyond the traditional framework of measuring health-related quality of life

Year: 2001
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