Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 1–39 | Cite as

The Four Qualities of Life

  • Ruut Veenhoven
Article

Abstract

The terms 'quality-of-life', 'well-being' and 'happiness' denote different meanings; sometimes they are used as an umbrella term for all of value, and at other times to denote special merits. This paper is about the specific meanings of the terms. It proposes a classification based on two bi-partitions; between life 'chances' and life 'results', and between 'outer' and 'inner' qualities. Together these dichotomies imply four qualities of life: 1) livability of the environment, 2) life-ability of the individual, 3) external utility of life and 4) inner appreciation of life.

This fourfold matrix is applied in three ways: firstly to place related notions and alternative classifications, secondly to explore substantive meanings in various measures for quality of life and thirdly to find out whether quality-of-life can be measured comprehensively. This last question is answered in the negative. Current sum-scores make little sense. The most inclusive measure is still how long and happily people live.

quality of life utility happiness well-being 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Allardt, E.: 1976, 'Dimensions of welfare in a comparative Scandinavian study', Acta Sociologica 19, pp. 227-239.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, F. and S. Withey: 1976, Social Indicators of Wellbeing: American Perceptions of Quality of Life (Plenum Press, New York).Google Scholar
  3. Bar-On, R.: 1997, BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory: A Measure of Emotional Intelligence (Multi-Health Systems Inc., Toronto, Canada).Google Scholar
  4. Bentham, J.: 1789, An Introduction into the Principles of Morals and Legislation, in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham (Clarendon Press Oxford), 1983.Google Scholar
  5. Bernheim, J.L. and M. Buyse: 1983 'The anamnestic comparative self-assessment for measuring subjective quality of life for cancer patients', Journal of Psycho-Social Oncology 1, pp. 25-38.Google Scholar
  6. Brock, D.W.: 1993, Life and Death: Philosophical Essays in Biomedical Ethics (Cambridge University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  7. Chamberlain, K. and S. Zika: 1988, 'Measuring meaning in life, examination of three scales', Journal of Personal and Individual Differences 9, pp. 589-596.Google Scholar
  8. Colby, B.N.: 1987, 'Well-being: a theoretical program', American Anthropologist 87, pp. 874-895.Google Scholar
  9. Cummins, R.A.: 1993, Comprehensive Quality of Life Scale for Adults. Manual ComQol-A4 (Deakin University, School of Psychology, Australia).Google Scholar
  10. Cummins, R.A.: 1997, Dictionary of Instruments to Measure Quality of Life and Cognate Areas (Deakin University, School of Psychology, Australia).Google Scholar
  11. Diener, E.: 1984, 'Subjective well-being', Psychological Bulletin 95, pp. 542-575.Google Scholar
  12. Estes, R.: 1984, The Social Progress of Nations (Preager, New York, USA).Google Scholar
  13. Fernandez-Ballesteros, R.: 1996, 'Quality of Life: Concept and Assessment', Paper presented at the 26th international congress of psychology, Montreal.Google Scholar
  14. Frankl, V.: 1946, 'Man's Search for Meaning, An Introduction to Logo-Therapy' (Beacon Press, Boston, USA).Google Scholar
  15. Gerson, E.M.: 1976, 'On quality of life', American Sociological Review 41, pp. 793-806.Google Scholar
  16. Jahoda, M.: 1958, Current Concepts of Positive Mental Health (Basic Books, New York, USA).Google Scholar
  17. Jolles, H.M. and J.A. Stalpers: 1978, Welzijnsbeleid en Sociale Wetenschappen Deventer, van Loghem Slaterus.Google Scholar
  18. Korczak, D.: 1995, Lebensqualität Atlas, Westdeutscher Verlag, Germany.Google Scholar
  19. Kunz, M. and W. Siefer: 1995, 'Wo Sie am besten leben', FOCUS, Lebensqualitätatlas, Available: www.genios.de/cgi-bin.Google Scholar
  20. Lane, R.E.: 1994, 'Quality of life and quality of persons. A new role for government?', Political Theory 22, pp. 219-252.Google Scholar
  21. Mayer, J.D. and P. Salovy: 1993, 'The intelligence of emotional intelligence', Intelligence 17, pp. 433-442.Google Scholar
  22. McCall, S.: 1975, 'Quality of life', Social Indicators Research 2, pp. 229-248.Google Scholar
  23. Michalos, A.: 1985, 'Multiple Discrepancy Theory (MDT)', Social Indicators Research 16, pp. 347-413.Google Scholar
  24. Mill. J.S.: 1863, 'Utilitarianism', 20th impression by Fontana Press 1990, London.Google Scholar
  25. Musschenga, A.W.: 1994, 'Quality of life and handicapped people', in L. Nordenfelt (ed.), Concepts and Measurement of Quality of Life in Health Care (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht), pp. 181-198.Google Scholar
  26. Noll, H.-H.: 1999, 'Konzepte der Wohlfahrtsentwicklung: Lebensqualitat und 'neue' WohlfahrtsKonzepte', Euro-Reporting Paper nr. 3 (ZUMA, Mannheim, Germany).Google Scholar
  27. Nordenfelt, L.: 1989, 'Quality of life and happiness', in S. Bjork and J. Vang (eds.), Assessing Quality of Life, Health Service Studies nr. 1 (Samhall, Klintland, Sweden).Google Scholar
  28. Ostenfelt, E.: 1994, 'Aristotle on the good life and quality of life', in L. Nordenfelt, (ed.), Concepts and Measurement of Quality of Life in Health Care (Kluwer Academic Publishers), pp. 19-34.Google Scholar
  29. Ouelette-Kuntz, H.: 1990, 'A pilot study in the use of the Quality Of Life Interview Schedule', Social Indicators Research 23, pp. 283-298.Google Scholar
  30. Sandoe, P.: 1999, 'Quality of life, three competing views', Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2, pp. 11-23.Google Scholar
  31. Schyns, P.:, 'Subjective well-being: concepts, measurability and cross-national comparability', in preparation.Google Scholar
  32. Sen, A.: 1992, 'Capability and well-being', in A. Sen and M. Nussbaum (eds.), The Quality of Life (Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK), pp. 30-53.Google Scholar
  33. Spilker, B. (ed.): 1996, 'Quality of Life and Pharmaco-economics in Clinical Trials', (Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia USA).Google Scholar
  34. Spitzer, W.O., A.J. Dobson, J. Hall, E. Chesterman, J. Levi and R. Shepherd: 1981, 'Measuring the quality of life of cancer patients', Journal of Chronical Disease 34, pp. 585-597.Google Scholar
  35. Tatarkiewicz, W.: 1975, Analysis of Happiness (Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands).Google Scholar
  36. Terhune, K.W.: 1973, 'Probing policy relevant questions on the quality of life', in The Quality of Life Concept (Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, USA).Google Scholar
  37. Townsend, P.: 1979, 'Poverty in the UK: A Survey of Household Resources and Standards of Living', (Penguin, Hammondsworth, UK).Google Scholar
  38. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (1990, 1998) Human Development Report 1990 (Oxford University Press, New York).Google Scholar
  39. Veenhoven, R.: 1984, Conditions of Happiness, (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands).Google Scholar
  40. Veenhoven, R.: 1988, 'The utility of happiness', Social Indicators Research 20, pp. 333-354.Google Scholar
  41. Veenhoven, R.: 1996, 'Happy life-expectancy', Social Indicators Research 39, pp. 1-58.Google Scholar
  42. Veenhoven, R.: 1997, 'Progres dans la comprehension du bonheur', Revue Quebecoise de Psychologie 18, pp. 29-74. Available in English 'Advances in the understanding of happiness' http://www.eur.nl/fsw/research/happiness/files/wdhrev.zip.Google Scholar
  43. Veenhoven, R.: 1998, 'Vergelijken van geluk in landen', SocialeWetenschappen 42, pp. 58-84.Google Scholar
  44. Veenhoven, R.: 2000a, 'Catalog of Happiness Measures', World Database of Happiness, http://www.eur.nl/fsw/research/happiness.Google Scholar
  45. Veenhoven, R.: 2000b, 'Well-being in the welfare state: level not higher, distribution not more equitable', Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (in press).Google Scholar
  46. Veenhoven, R.: 2000c, 'Freedom and happiness', in E. Diener and E. Suh (eds.), Subjective Well-Being Across Cultures (MIT-press, Boston USA), in press.Google Scholar
  47. Veenhoven, R.: 2000d, 'Quality of life and happiness, not quite the same', in G. DeGirolamo (ed.), Health and quality of life (Il Pensierro Scientifico, Rome) (in press).Google Scholar
  48. Verba, S.K.: 1988, 'Measurement of positive mental health, some theoretical and practical considerations', International Journal of Clinical Psychology 15, pp. 6-11.Google Scholar
  49. Wackernagel, M., L. Onisto, A. Callejas Linares, I. Susana, L. Falfan, J. Mendez Garcia, A.I. Suarez Guerrero, M.G. Suarez Guerrero: 1999, 'National natural capital accounting with the ecological footprint concept', Ecological Economics 29, pp. 375-390.Google Scholar
  50. Ware, J.E. Jr: 1996, 'The SF-36 Health Survey', in B. Spilker (ed.), Quality of Life and Pharmaco-Economics in Clinical Trials (Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia USA), 1996, pp. 337-345.Google Scholar
  51. Zajonc, R.B.: 1980, 'Feeling and thinking: preference needs no inference', American Psychologist 35, pp. 151-175.Google Scholar
  52. Zapf, W.: 1984 'Individuelle Wohlfahrt: Lebensbedingungen und wahrgenommene Lebensqualität', in W. Glatzer and W. Zapf (eds.), Lebensqualität in der Bundesrepublik. Objective Lebensbedingungen und subjectives (Wohlbefinden, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main), pp. 13-26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruut Veenhoven
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations