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Sen and the art of quality of life maintenance: Towards a general theory of quality of life and its causation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Danny Ruta, Professor Cam Donaldson


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Sen's capability approach permits re-appraisal of a central concept in health and social care, and international development-'quality of life' (QoL). We compare Sen's capability view of QoL with current views in health care, and re-define QoL as 'the gap between desired and actual capabilities'. A causal pathway linking resources to capabilities, and finally to QoL, is postulated. The notion of 'cognitive homeostasis' is introduced to explain the observed curvilinear relationship between resources and QoL. A separate set of factors is identified that act to sustain or destabilise QoL. We conclude by examining the model's implications for policy and evaluation. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ruta D, Camfield L, Donaldson C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Socio-Economics

Year: 2007

Volume: 36

Issue: 3

Pages: 397-423

Print publication date: 01/06/2007

ISSN (print): 1053-5357

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1239

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2006.12.004


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