Models of quality of life: a taxonomy, overview and systematic review of the literature

Brown, Jackie, Bowling, Ann and Flynn, Terry (2004) Models of quality of life: a taxonomy, overview and systematic review of the literature. (Project Report) European Forum on Population Ageing Research. 113 p.


The remit of this review of the literature was to document the current 'state of the art' in relation to the definition of the concept of quality of life (QoL), and with relevance to public policy. In view of a history of changing and overlapping terminology in quality of life research (see later), this review of the concept necessarily included a broad range of concepts and search terms. Measures of quality of life are outside the scope of this review and readers are referred to Sirgy (2002), Bowling (2001, 2004) and Haywood et al. (2004) for reviews of generic and specific measures. Part 1 'the taxonomy' was written by Ann Bowling, and was based on electronic and manual searches of the literature over time, and supplemented with grey literature sent by members of the European Forum on Population Aging Research. Literature from an initial, broad (exploratory scoping) systematic review, conducted by Jackie Brown and Terry Flynn, was also included. This was based on Psychlit and Medline databases from 20001 to 2003, with search terms quality of life or well-being or life satisfaction or health status and older or older or senior or aged or ageing or aging (2465 records). AB conducted a further broad search using these terms for non-English language literature (abstracts only, translated electronically). Most of the literature from the systematic reviews investigated health related quality of life and clinical outcomes. Only literature which made a contribution to the conceptual development and definition of QoL has been included here. While a wide range of relevant concepts are described in this report, discussions of them are relatively brief given the enormity of the scope of the review. It is acknowledged that each merits a report in its own right. Not all concepts used in the context of quality of life were used as electronic search terms given the vast amount of specialised literature on each, and which would have made this task completely unwieldy.

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