Health, Health-Related Quality of Life, and Quality of Life: What is the Difference?

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Karimi, M. ; Brazier, J. (2016)
  • Publisher: Springer Verlag
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: humanities

The terms health, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and quality of life (QoL) are used interchangeably. Given that these are three key terms in the literature, their appropriate and clear use is important. This paper reviews the history and definitions of the terms and considers how they have been used. It is argued that the definitions of HRQoL in the literature are problematic because some definitions fail to distinguish between HRQoL and health or between HRQoL and QoL. Many so-called HRQoL questionnaires actually measure self-perceived health status and the use of the phrase QoL is unjustified. It is concluded that the concept of HRQoL as used now is confusing. A potential solution is to define HRQoL as the way health is empirically estimated to affect QoL or use the term to only signify the utility associated with a health state.
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