Quality of Life: Human Worth Reduced to Measures of Ability


Evaluations of health‐related quality of life make judgments about the relative worth of individuals in society. These appraisals are made either subjectively or objectively based on ability, performance and values.

Keywords: disability; quality of life; human worth; measurement; social model of disability


Albrecht GL and Devlieger PJ (1999) The disability paradox: high quality of life against all odds. Social Science and Medicine 48: 977–988.

Altman BM (2001) Disability definitions, models, classification schemes, and applications. In: Albrecht GL, Seelman KD and Bury M (eds.) Handbook of Disability Studies, pp. 97–122. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Bowling A (2001) Measuring Disease, 2nd edn. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

Kasser T (2000) Two versions of the American dream: which goals and values make for a high quality of life? In: Diener E and Rahtz DR (eds.) Advances in Quality of Life: Theory and Research, pp. 3–12. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Katz JN (2001) Patient preferences and health disparities. Journal of the American Medical Association 286: 1506–1509.

Patrick DL and Erickson P (1993) Health Status and Health Policy: Quality of Life in Health Care Evaluation and Resource Allocation. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Riley BB, Perna R, Tate DG, et al. (1998) Types of spiritual well‐being among persons with chronic illness: their relation to various forms of quality of life. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 79: 258–264.

Sen A (1999) Development as Freedom. New York, NY: Knopf.

Shakespeare T and Watson N (2001) The social model of disability: an outdated ideology? In: Barnartt SN and Altman BM (eds.) Exploring Theories and Expanding Methodologies: Where We are and Where We Need to Go, pp. 9–28. Amsterdam: JAI/Elsevier Press.

Tate DG, Riley BB, Perna R and Roller S (1997) Quality of life issues among women with physical disabilities or breast cancer. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 78: S18–S25.

Wilson JQ (1993) The Moral Sense. New York, NY: Free Press.

Further Reading

Albrecht GL (1996) Using subjective health assessments in practice and policy making. Health Care Analysis 4: 284–292.

Charmaz K (1991) Good Days Bad Days: The Self in Chronic Illness and Time. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Cunningham‐Burley S and Boulton M (2000) The social context of the new genetics. In: Albrecht GL, Fitzpatrick R and Scrimshaw SC (eds.) Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine, pp. 173–188. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Frank G (2000) Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography and Being Female in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Hudson KL, Rothenberg KH, Andrews LB, Kahn MJ and Collins FS (1995) Genetic discrimination and health insurance: an urgent need for reform. Science 270: 391–393.

Johnston M and Pollard B (2001) Consequences of disease: testing the WHO International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (ICIDH) model. Social Science and Medicine 53: 1261–1273.

Lock M (2000) Accounting for disease and distress: morals of the normal and abnormal. In: Albrecht GL, Fitzpatrick R and Scrimshaw SC (eds.) Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine, pp. 259–276. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Nelkin D and Lindee S (1995) The DNA Mystique: The Gene As Cultural Icon. New York, NY: Freeman.

Pääbo S (2001) The human genome and our view of ourselves. Science 291: 1219–1220.

Shakespeare T (ed.) (1998) The Disability Reader. London, UK: Cassell.

Thomas SM (1999) Genomics: the implications for ethics and education. British Medical Bulletin 55: 429–445.

Wasserman D (1996) Some moral issues in the correction of impairments. Journal of Social Philosophy 27: 128–145.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Albrecht, Gary L(Jul 2006) Quality of Life: Human Worth Reduced to Measures of Ability. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005215]