Measuring Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents: Implications for Research and Practice

By Dennis Drotar | Go to book overview

5
Implication of Quality of Life Assessment in Public Policy for Adolescent Health

Robert M. Kaplan

University of California, San Diego

Health care is dominated by a traditional biomedical model. According to this model, human pain and suffering are caused by disease processes. Disease activity is measured by judgments of trained physicians and by physiological measures, including blood chemistry or radiographic evidence of pathology. The traditional medical model recognizes behavioral factors as predictors of these outcomes. Behavioral risk factors might be cigarette smoking, high-risk behaviors, or the consumption of a high-fat diet ( Kaplan, 1984). In addition, the traditional biomedical model suggests that the disease process is determined by genetic predispositions, environmental exposures, and the aging process. The disease process is also affected by medical care and the regular use of medical tests ( Wilson & Cleary, 1995).

According to the traditional biomedical model, the purpose of medicine is to find disease pathology and to fix it. We sometimes refer to this as "find it-fix it medicine." If a child has an abnormality in glucose metabolism, for example, the physician's task is to diagnose the problem (perhaps diabetes mellitus) and to administer insulin to make blood-glucose normal. The measure of success is a blood glucose reading that falls within

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