Related Outcome Tools

Societal Standards and Priorities (Box B)

Instruments that measure societal standards and priorities use an objective approach towards understanding quality of life (QoL).  This approach obtains an individual’s score on a profile or an index composed of multiple indicators of “the good things in life”, such as possessions or achievements. The values underlying the construction of the index generally are those of society (or the investigators) only and are not made explicit to the person being assessed.  Assumptions and priorities based on what is deemed important by the investigator determines what indicators are included, how they are weighted, and what the minimum scale points are.

Domain Importances: A domain approach to evaluating QoL yields an overall score by calculating domain based total scores, in which some domains may be weighted differently depending on the believed salience to the respondent by society or by the investigator.  As such, a domain approach has the underlying assumptions:

  1. The same domains of life are important to all people;
  2. In each domain, all people have the same needs and goals;
  3. Happiness and satisfaction are directly proportional to the degree that these standard needs are satisfied and the goals met.

Standards and Values: Standards and/or values are external.  These provide the benchmark for standard metrics from the view of “society as a whole”.  An issue with this approach is that in today’s society, it is difficult to determine which values and standards are important and/or normative, and to determine who is qualified to make those judgments.

Key References:

Dijkers MP. Quality of life of individuals with spinal cord injury: A review of conceptualization, measurement, and research findigs. J Rehabil Res Dev 2005;42:87-11.

Stineman MG, Wechsler B, Ross R, Maislin G. A method for measuring quality of life through subjective weighting of functional status. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2003;84:S15-22.

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