A Positive Psychology Perspective on Quality of Life
Anastasia Efklides, Despina Moraitou
Springer Science & Business Media, Nov 2, 2012 - Psychology - 300 pages
The construct ‘‘quality of life (QoL)’’, since the 1980s, when it was introduced, is being used mainly in the context of health problems. Areas of one’s life that contribute to QoL are good physical and mental health, efficient cognitive functioning, social support, being able to meet the requirements of professional life, positive emotions, etc (Power, 2003). Work on subjective well-being (SWB), on the other hand, was developed in the context of healthy everyday life; it also has a history of more than 30 years. During this 30-year period factors that have an impact on SWB, such as SES, gender, health, age, and religiosity have been identified (Diener, 2000). A third independent line of research pertains to what has been called Positive Psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), that is, an emphasis on human strengths, such as optimism, hope, wisdom, positive emotions, resilience, etc., which contribute to positive functioning in life.
Recently, SWB has been associated to human strengths and to the movement of positive psychology but this did not happen for QoL, possibly because of its emphasis on people with health problems. However, QoL can be conceived of as a generic term that pertains to all people, healthy or not. In this sense, it is closely related to SWB defined as happiness (Diener, 2000). Also, QoL encompasses positive emotions that go beyond happiness and has the advantage that it can be applied to many different domains of life such as interpersonal relations, health-related situations, and professional and educational strivings. Moreover, the mechanism(s) that underpin QoL and SWB can be studied in relation to people’s goals and strengths of character, that is, from a positive psychological perspective. Such a perspective can reveal the specificities of “quality” in the various domains of life and, specifically, the positive emotions and strengths that contribute to a happier, healthier, and more successful life, even in face of adversity.
Therefore, despite the differences among the three theoretical traditions, namely QoL, SWB, and positive psychology, it is possible to find the common ground they share and each of them can benefit from notions developed in the others. The aim of the present book is to bring together these three traditions, show the interactions of variables emphasized by them, and give an integrative perspective from the positive psychology point of view. It also aims to extend the range of life situations in which one can look for quality and which go beyond the traditional emphasis of QoL on health problems. Thus, the content of the proposed book covers different age populations (from children to older adults), healthy and people facing health problems as well as people facing problems in their interpersonal lives or in their pursuits. It also discusses factors that contribute to marital satisfaction, well being in the school context, and things that people value and cherish. The chapters refer to notions such as happiness, interest, resilience, wisdom, hope, altruism, optimism, and spirituality/religiosity that represent unique human strengths. Finally, it emphasizes the role of goals and motivation that connect SWB with self-regulation and managing of one’s life priorities.
To conclude, the chapters included in the proposed edited book aim at bringing to the fore new theoretical developments and research on QoL, SWB, and positive psychology that bridges previously distinct theoretical traditions. The proposed book covers a broad range of topics, addresses different theoretical interests and paves the way for a more integrative approach. Finally, it brings together an international set of authors, from USA, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
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Part I Quality of Life WellBeing and Positive Psychology
Part II Positive Psychology and Human Strengths