Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 197–210 | Cite as

Domain Compensation in Quality of Life of Individuals with Vasovagal Syncope: a Test of Homeostasis Theory

  • J. Broadbent
  • L. Hamilton
  • J. McGillivrayEmail author


Although health-related quality of life is often diminished in populations characterised by physical illness, this does not necessarily imply lower overall assessments of general life satisfaction (GLS) and greater incidence of mental illness. According to Homeostasis Theory, this limited impact of health on these more global wellbeing indices may be due to internal and external buffers that serve to maintain one’s overall sense of wellbeing and GLS in the face of adversity. Thus, the present study tested in a sample of 212 individuals (48 with vasovagal syncope, 62 cardiac patients, and 102 healthy control participants) the possibility that poor health-related quality of life (as expected for the cardiac and vasovagal syncope groups) may be offset by relatively higher satisfaction with other aspects of one’s life (the domain compensation hypothesis). Consistent with this view, present findings showed that although individuals in the two health-risk groups reported lower health satisfaction (HSat) than the control group, they had comparable levels of mental health, GLS satisfaction, and subjective wellbeing (minus health; PWI-H). Moreover, moderation analyses confirmed that the relationship between HSat and GLS reduced to non-significance for individuals with PWI-H higher than nationally representative, normative levels. Collectively, these findings suggest that a broader context is necessary to understand the impact that illness may have on one’s sense of GLS and mental health. In particular, the provision of support and satisfaction with other life domains may serve to buffer concerns about one’s health.


Quality of life Subject wellbeing Homeostasis Vasovagal syncope Health satisfaction 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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