Sen and the art of quality of life maintenance: Towards a general theory of quality of life and its causation

D. Ruta, L. Camfield, C. Donaldson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Sen's capability approach permits re-appraisal of a central concept in health and social care, and international development-'quality of life' (QoL). We compare Sen's capability view of QoL with current views in health care, and re-define QoL as 'the gap between desired and actual capabilities'. A causal pathway linking resources to capabilities, and finally to QoL, is postulated. The notion of 'cognitive homeostasis' is introduced to explain the observed curvilinear relationship between resources and QoL. A separate set of factors is identified that act to sustain or destabilise QoL. We conclude by examining the model's implications for policy and evaluation. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-423
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

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