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Is Quality of Life a Healthy Concept? Measuring and Understanding Life Experiences of Older People.

By F Hendry and Chris McVittie


The concept of quality of life has received considerable attention as an inclusive notion of health and as a basis for health interventions. The authors’ argument in this article is that notwithstanding this attention, little consensus exists as to definition of the term. In addition, a focus on measurement has led to the neglect of wider aspects of quality of life. Such difficulties are particularly relevant to the study of quality of life of older people. Analysis of interview data suggests that older people’s understandings of quality of life are not readily measurable and should be viewed in terms of phenomenological experience. The authors discuss the implications for studying quality of life of this group and difficulties for the concept itself

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