Quality of Life Essay Assignment Paper
Quality of Life Essay Assignment Paper
Discussion Quality of Life
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Quality of life is a subjective construct. What does quality of life mean to you right now? How has that changed in the last five years? How do you think it will change in the next five years?
Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization as “an individual’s perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns”. Standard indicators of the quality of life include wealth, employment, the environment, physical and mental health, education, recreation and leisure time, social belonging, religious beliefs, safety, security and freedom. QOL has a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, politics and employment. Health related QOL (HRQOL) is an evaluation of QOL and its relationship with health.
One approach, called engaged theory, outlined in the journal of Applied Research in the Quality of Life, posits four domains in assessing quality of life: ecology, economics, politics and culture. In the domain of culture, for example, it includes the following subdomains of quality of life:
Discussion Quality of LifeBeliefs and ideas
Creativity and recreation
Enquiry and learning
Gender and generations
Identity and engagement
Memory and projection
Well-being and health
Under this conception, other frequently related concepts include freedom, human rights, and happiness. However, since happiness is subjective and difficult to measure, other measures are generally given priority. It has also been shown that happiness, as much as it can be measured, does not necessarily increase correspondingly with the comfort that results from increasing income. As a result, standard of living should not be taken to be a measure of happiness. Also sometimes considered related is the concept of human security, though the latter may be considered at a more basic level and for all people.
Discussion Quality of LifeQuantitative measurement
Unlike per capita GDP or standard of living, both of which can be measured in financial terms, it is harder to make objective or long-term measurements of the quality of life experienced by nations or other groups of people. Researchers have begun in recent times to distinguish two aspects of personal well-being: Emotional well-being, in which respondents are asked about the quality of their everyday emotional experiences – the frequency and intensity of their experiences of, for example, joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection – and life evaluation, in which respondents are asked to think about their life in general and evaluate it against a scale. Such and other systems and scales of measurement have been in use for some time. Research has attempted to examine the relationship between quality of life and productivity. There are many different methods of measuring quality of life in terms of health care, wealth and materialistic goods. However, it is much more difficult to measure meaningful expression of one’s desires. One way to do so is to evaluate the scope of how individuals have fulfilled their own ideals. Quality of life can simply mean happiness, the subjective state of mind. By using that mentality, citizens of a developing country appreciate more since they are content with the basic necessities of health care, education and child protection.
According to ecological economist Robert Costanza:
While Quality of Life (QOL) has long been an explicit or implicit policy goal, adequate definition and measurement have been elusive. Diverse “objective” and “subjective” indicators across a range of disciplines and scales, and recent work on subjective well-being (SWB) surveys and the psychology of happiness have spurred renewed interest.
Discussion Quality of LifeHuman Development Index
Main article: Human Development Index
Perhaps the most commonly used international measure of development is the Human Development Index (HDI), which combines measures of life expectancy, education, and standard of living, in an attempt to quantify the options available to individuals within a given society. The HDI is used by the United Nations Development Programme in their Human Development Report. However, since year 2010, The Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). While the original HDI remains useful, it stated that “the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality), while the original HDI can be viewed as an index of ‘potential’ human development (or the maximum level of HDI) that could be achieved if there was no inequality.”
Discussion Quality of LifeWorld Happiness Report
Main article: World Happiness Report
Map showing happiness of countries by their score according to the 2018 World Happiness Report.
The World Happiness Report is a landmark survey on the state of global happiness. It ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, reflecting growing global interest in using happiness and substantial well-being as an indicator of the quality of human development. Its growing purpose has allowed governments, communities and organizations to use appropriate data to record happiness in order to enable policies to provide better lives. The reports review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness. Developed again by the United Nations and published recently along with the HDI, this report combines both objective and subjective measures to rank countries by happiness, which is deemed as the ultimate outcome of a high quality of life. It uses surveys from Gallup, real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity to derive the final score. Happiness is already recognised as an important concept in global public policy. The World Happiness Report indicates that some regions have in recent years been experiencing progressive inequality of happiness.
Discussion Quality of LifeOther measures
The Physical Quality of Life Index (PQLI) is a measure developed by sociologist Morris David Morris in the 1970s, based on basic literacy, infant mortality, and life expectancy. Although not as complex as other measures, and now essentially replaced by the Human Development Index, the PQLI is notable for Morris’s attempt to show a “less fatalistic pessimistic picture” by focusing on three areas where global quality of life was generally improving at the time, while ignoring gross national product and other possible indicators that were not improving.
The Happy Planet Index, introduced in 2006, is unique among quality of life measures in that, in addition to standard determinants of well-being, it uses each country’s ecological footprint as an indicator. As a result, European and North American nations do not dominate this measure. The 2012 list is instead topped by Costa Rica, Vietnam and Colombia.
In 2010, Gallup researchers trying to find the world’s happiest countries found Denmark to be at the top of the list. For the period 2014–2016, Norway surpasses Denmark to be at the top of the list. uSwitch publishes an annual quality of life index for European countries. France topped the list from 2009 to 2011.[needs update]
Discussion Quality of LifeA 2010 study by two Princeton University professors looked at 1,000 randomly selected U.S. residents over an extended period. It concludes that their life evaluations – that is, their considered evaluations of their life against a stated scale of one to ten – rise steadily with income. On the other hand, their reported quality of emotional daily experiences (their reported experiences of joy, affection, stress, sadness, or anger) levels off after a certain income level (approximately $75,000 per year in 2010); income above $75,000 does not lead to more experiences of happiness nor to further relief of unhappiness or stress. Below this income level, respondents reported decreasing happiness and increasing sadness and stress, implying the pain of life’s misfortunes, including disease, divorce, and being alone, is exacerbated by poverty.
Gross national happiness and other subjective measures of happiness are being used by the governments of Bhutan and the United Kingdom. The World Happiness report, issued by Columbia University is a meta-analysis of happiness globally and provides an overview of countries and grassroots activists using GNH. The OECD issued a guide for the use of subjective well-being metrics in 2013. In the U.S., cities and communities are using a GNH metric at a grassroots level.
Discussion Quality of LifeThe Social Progress Index measures the extent to which countries provide for the social and environmental needs of their citizens. Fifty-two indicators in the areas of basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity show the relative performance of nations. The index uses outcome measures when there is sufficient data available or the closest possible proxies.
Day-Reconstruction Method was another way of measuring happiness, in which researchers asked their subjects to recall various things they did on the previous day and describe their mood during each activity. Being simple and approachable, this method required memory and the experiments have confirmed that the answers that people give are similar to those who repeatedly recalled each subject. The method eventually declined as it called for more effort and thoughtful responses, which often included interpretations and outcomes that do not occur to people who are asked to record every action in their daily lives.
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