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Conceptual Scheme of the Domains and Variables Involved in a Quality of Life Assessment

Each domain of health has many components like symptoms ability to function and disability that need to be measured Because of this multidimensionality Fig 1 there is an almost infinite number of states of health all with differing qualities and all quite independent of longevity Figure 1 Conceptual Scheme of the Domains and Variables Involved in a Quality of Life Assessment x axis represents subjective perceptions of health y axis objective health status Coordinates Q X Y the actual quality of life and Z measurement of the actual quality of life associated with a specific component e g positive affect or domain e g the psychological domain Measuring quality of life Translating the various domains and components of health into a quantitative value that indicates the quality of life is a complex procedure drawing their tenants from the fields of clinimetrics 20 psychometrics and clinical decision theory Usually most of the researchers measure each quality of life domain individually by asking specific questions related to its most important components By asking a simple question such as Please rate your quality of life or overall health on a scale from 1 to 10 although it may provide a useful global assessment leaves quality of life and overall health ambiguously defined and the quantity being measured too vague to be interpreted more exactly Relying purely on data indicating objective health status such as physicians reports of symptoms omits such relevant factors as a persons threshold for the tolerance of discomfort 21 Variation among quality of life questionnaires is often related to the degree to which they emphasize objective as compared with subjective dimensions the extent to which various domains are covered and the format of the questions rather than differences in the basic definition of quality of life Constructing scales of measurement As we know that many components of quality of life cannot be observed directly they are typically evaluated according to the classic principles of item measurement theory 22

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