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and beliefs as interacting and changing, based upon a range of methods,
disciplines, and indicators ( Ventegodt, Merrick, & Andersen, 2003 ).
There has been some general agreement about what constitutes “a
good quality of life.” A good quality of life is related to achieving a posi-
tive attitude about what is important in life that is closely linked to the
culture and society of which one is a part. Chambers and Kong (1996)
described this view of a good-quality life as seen through a filter of cul-
tural conditioning in which people include happiness and fulfillment of
needs in a specific social context. This idea draws upon a multicultural
model that is consistent with definitions of health and health promotion
provided by the World Health Organization Group (WHOG) Profile and
the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) definition
( WHOQOL Group, 1995 ). The WHOG Profile emphasizes a good qual-
ity of life as embodying individual physical health, psychological well-
being, and spiritual functioning in connection with the environment.
One of the most important ideas to emerge was alignment with the indi-
vidual's view of achieving the important possibilities of their life.
King and Napa (1998) and others found that cultural differences in beliefs
have often complicated the understanding of how QoL is to be defined. The
issue is further conflicted when QoL measures have been initially developed
in a particular culture and later translated for people who have a different
cultural background. For example, a Western or individualistic perception of
happiness in the United States will differ for people who come to live there
from a familial or group-oriented society. Although this issue is too extensive
for elaboration in this chapter, many of the basic tenets for assessing QoL
from a cultural context can be found in the work developed in the Schedule
for the Evaluation of Individual Quality of Life (SEIQL; O'Boyle, Browne,
Hickey, McGee, & Joyce, 1993 ).
Two constructs that have emerged as central to understanding and
defining QoL are subjective well-being and life satisfaction. These related
constructs were developed in the field of Positive Psychology and have
had various interpretations and interrelated meanings ( Diener, 1984;
Strack et al., 1991 ). The earlier emphasis was on subjective quality of life,
which has been described as the perceived satisfaction each individual has
about their life as they make personal evaluations through their feelings
and emotions. When an individual is content with life and feels happy,
this reflects their subjective quality of life. Objective quality of life is how
a person's life is perceived in relation to the outside world. Objective
quality of life has also been described as a person's ability to adapt to the
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