Quality of Life: Factors Determining its Measurement Complexity

  • Violeta Pukeliene Vytautas Magnus University
  • Viktorija Starkauskiene Vytautas Magnus University
Keywords: quality of life, livability of environment, individual, societal quality of life, objective, subjective quality of life, factors of quality of life, measurement of quality of life.


Measuring quality of life is currently at the forefront ofthe various fields of science. In spite of a great interest inquality of life and many attempts to measure it, there is nomethod of quality of life measurement, which is groundedmethodologically and accepted generally. Quality of liferemains a contested concept, which is measured in differentways: analyzing one or several factors of quality of life(material well-being and GDP per person), using objectiveand subjective dimensions, creating composite indices.Following works and studies of scientists (Cummins,1996; Diener & Suh, 1997, 1999; Easterlin, 1974, 1995,2001; Hagerty et al, 2001; Layard, 2005, 2007; Veenhoven,2000, 2005, 2009), who have analyzed quality of life and itsmeasurement, the present article examines factorsdetermining quality of life and complexity of theirmeasurement. The article raises questions for discussion:what factors are involved in quality of life? How do theydetermine the quality of life in a particular country?Furthermore, on the basis of theoretical and empiricalstudies of quality of life, insights into opportunities for thedevelopment and implementation of quality of life studiesare presented.A special focus of the present article is on complexity ofquality of life measurement, which is primarily dependent ofthe levels and kinds of quality of life identified in the firstpart of the article. If studies of quality of life are conductedwithout having first identified its levels and kinds, thisreduces validity and reliability of the results.Factors of quality of life and their groups arepresented in the second part. It is important to note that inthe scientific literature only premises for the identificationand systematization of factors of quality of life and foranalyzing their interrelationships are mentioned, while awide range of quality of life factors and their differentclassifications only create a great confusion in quality oflife research. Theoretical studies of quality of lifemeasurement indicate that the analysis of one or severalfactors of quality of life fails to do justice to the topic ofquality of life measurement. Measurement of quality of liferequires systemic approach involving identification offactors of quality of life and determination of theirinterrelationships.Finally, on the basis of theoretical studies of quality oflife and empirical research in this field, factors of qualityof life are identified, categorized, and united in a singlemodel. In the model of measurement of quality of life twoenvironments of quality of life are identified – external andinternal environment of quality of life. They in turn aredivided into four groups of factors, including natural,political, social and economic environments as well asphysical, personal developmental, social and materialwell-beings, which constitute the basis of the theoreticalmodel for measurement of quality of life.The authors of the article believe that the conceptsinvolving multiple criteria, which are determined byseveral groups of factors, different factors and indicatorsreflecting them, are best measured by means of indexes.