Chapter 7. Quality of Life: A New Dimension in Mental Health Care

  1. Norman Sartorius2,
  2. Wolfgang Gaebel3,
  3. Juan José López-Ibor4 and
  4. Mario Maj5
  1. Heinz Katschnig and
  2. Monika Krautgartner

Published Online: 29 APR 2002

DOI: 10.1002/0470846488.ch7

Psychiatry in Society

Psychiatry in Society

How to Cite

Katschnig, H. and Krautgartner, M. (2002) Quality of Life: A New Dimension in Mental Health Care, in Psychiatry in Society (eds N. Sartorius, W. Gaebel, J. J. López-Ibor and M. Maj), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470846488.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 2

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

  2. 3

    University of Düsseldorf, Germany

  3. 4

    Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

  4. 5

    University of Naples, Italy

Author Information

  1. Department of Psychiatry, University of Vienna, Waehringerguertel 18–20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2002
  2. Published Print: 30 APR 2002

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471496823

Online ISBN: 9780470846483



  • quality of life;
  • well-being;
  • satisfaction;
  • social roles;
  • functioning;
  • disability;
  • social support;
  • standard of living;
  • needs;
  • stigma


Quality of life has become a widely used concept for encompassing non-disease aspects of diseases of all kinds. With mental health care returning into the community and with the growth of the self-help and advocacy movements, the quality of life concept has become central to mental health activities alongside symptoms and diagnosis. Today it is used (1) as an outcome measure in clinical trials and in health services research, (2) for the planning of clinical care of individual patients, (3) for health needs assessment of populations in descriptive studies, and (4) in health economic studies. From a scientific perspective, however, quality of life is an imprecise concept and its use is associated with several methodological problems. Nevertheless, the concept of quality of life may have a large integrative potential in a health care environment which is characterized by ever increasing conflicts and debates on costs and outcome.