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Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is a multi-dimensional concept that includes domains related to physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning. It goes beyond direct measures of population health, life expectancy, and causes of death, and focuses on the impact health status has on quality of life. A related concept of HRQoL is well-being, which assesses the positive aspects of a person’s life, such as positive emotions and life satisfaction.

Clinicians and public health officials have used HRQoL and well-being to measure the effects of chronic illness, treatments, and short- and long-term disabilities. While there are several existing measures of HRQoL and well-being, methodological development in this area is still ongoing. Over the decade, Healthy People 2020 will evaluate the following measures for monitoring HRQoL and well-being in the United States:

  • Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Global Health Measure – assesses global physical, mental, and social HRQoL through questions on self-rated health, physical HRQoL, mental HRQoL, fatigue, pain, emotional distress, social activities, and roles.
  • Well-Being Measuresassess the positive evaluations of people’s daily lives—when they feel very healthy and satisfied or content with life, the quality of their relationships, their positive emotions, their resilience, and the realization of their potential.
  • Participation Measures reflect individuals’ assessments of the impact of their health on their social participation within their current environment. Participation includes education, employment, civic, social, and leisure activities. The principle behind participation measures is that a person with a functional limitation—for example, vision loss, mobility difficulty, or intellectual disability—can live a long and productive life and enjoy a good quality of life.

View the complete report for Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being [printer-friendly PDF – 109 KB].