Moving from the quality of life concept to a theory


Robert A. Cummins, School of Psychology, Deakin University, 211 Burwood Highway, Melbourne, Victoria 3125, Australia (e-mail:


Background  The Special Interest Quality of Life Group has updated its set of statements defining the quality of life (QOL) construct to reflect emerging areas of agreement and the framework for understanding better the QOL construct.

Method  This article examines the major areas currently under discussion involving the objective–subjective dichotomy, needs, and core domains.

Results  It is concluded that while the new statements constitute a significant advance, further progress requires testable theory. In order to facilitate such future research, a conceptual model is proposed that distinguishes causal and indicator variables within the framework of a homeostatic management system.

Conclusion  Several lines of empirical investigation are suggested to test this and similar theoretical models with a view to taking our conceptualization of QOL to the next level.