Which factors determine our quality of life, health and ability? Results from a Danish population sample and the Copenhagen perinatal cohort

Søren Ventegodt, Trine Flensborg-Madsen, Niels Jørgen Andersen, Joav Merrick
Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons—Pakistan: JCPSP 2008, 18 (7): 445-50

OBJECTIVE: To examine the statistical associations between Global Quality of Life (QOL) and a series of indicators representing health, ability, philosophy of life, sexuality, quality of working life and other medically relevant aspects of life.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparative study using the self-administered SEQOL questionnaire.

PLACE AND DURATION OF STUDY: The Quality of Life Research Center, the University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: (1) A representative sample of 2,500 Danes (18-88 years) randomly selected from the CPR register, (2) Follow-up survey of members of the Copenhagen Perinatal Birth Cohort, 4,648 Danes (31-33 years). The associations were measured qualitatively as well as quantitatively calculating the difference in percentage and using the method of weight modified linear regression. QOL, measured by SEQOL (self-evaluation of quality of life), containing eight global QOL measures: well-being, life-satisfaction, happiness, fulfillment of needs, experience of temporal and spatial domains, expression of life's potentials and objective factors.

RESULTS: Strongest was the association between QOL, overall view of life (41.5% / 59.1%), relationship to self (39.3% / 56.8%), partner (32.2% / 31.7%) and friends (33.3% / 42.7%). Different aspects of physical as well as psychological health were also strongly correlated with QOL: self-perceived physical health (33.2% /29.4%), satisfaction with own health (27.3% / 29.0%), self-perceived mental health (38.4/51.0), number of severe health problems (29.8% / 35.3%). Objective factors such as income, age, sex, weight and social group did not have any noteworthy relationship to QOL, and neither did lifestyle factors such as tobacco and alcohol consumption, drug use, exercise, and diet.

CONCLUSION: It seems that the factors important for present QOL and health is derived from good relations, with the close as well as the distant world, and overall view of life. What one possesses in objective terms--money, status, work--does not seem to be important to global quality of life and of little importance to self-assessed health. Our results indicate that what is really important is not what one has, but how he sees, evaluates and experiences what he has. The person's level of consciousness and responsible attitude towards life and others seem far more important for the global quality of life and health.

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