Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Health Promotion, Wellness Programs, Quality of Life and the Marketing of Psychology

Academic journal article Canadian Psychology

Health Promotion, Wellness Programs, Quality of Life and the Marketing of Psychology

Article excerpt

Health Promotion, Wellness Programs, Quality of Life and the Marketing of Psychology

DAVID R. EVANS

The University of Western Ontario

Abstract

This paper focusses on fifteen years of research into the definition of quality of life and the factors that influence it. The initial phase of the research involving the development of the Quality of Life Questionnaire and the identification of general and specific factors that impact on life quality is considered. As governments and companies seek to reduce health costs, attention has turned to the potential impact of health promotion programs, and wellness programs on health costs. Hence, a second aim of this paper is to discuss the application of the research to health promotion and the development of wellness programs. A strategy to enhance quality of life using the Quality of Life Questionnaire, and group interventions to enhance specific personality characteristics are described. Finally, the current research program is used as a case study to demonstrate some of the factors that contribute to the invisibility of psychology.

In the past few decades there has been considerable interest in health promotion both here in Canada (Epp, 1986), in the United States (United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1979) and Internationally (World Health Organization, 1984). Health promotion is the process of assisting people to move toward a state of optimal health (Alonzo, 1993; Epp, 1986). There has been increased emphasis on the development of health promotion programs since the member states of the World Health Organization adopted the goal of "Health for All by the Year 2000" (Kickbusch, 1987). Several authors have equated the goal of health promotion with the enhancement of quality of life and the achievement of optimal well - being (Alonzo, 1993; Elias & Murphy, 1986; Epp, 1986; Herbert, 1995; Sullivan, 1991). Hence, it can be argued that one avenue to the development of health promotion programs is the development of programs to enhance quality of life (Evans, 1994, 1995, July).

THE DEFINITION AND MEASUREMENT OF QUALITY OF LIFE

The first step in any research program is to define the central constructs and to develop valid measures of the constructs. The definition of quality of life has been quite elusive despite the extensive literature and research in the area (Evans, 1994; Romney, & Evans, 1996; Romney, Jenkins, & Bynner, 1992, Faden, & Leplege, 1992). Quality of life has been used interchangeably with such terms as well - being, psychological well - being, happiness, life satisfaction, positive and negative affect, and the good life (Cheng, 1988, Evans, 1994, George, 1992). In an effort to develop a behaviourally based multidimensional measure of quality of life Evans and his colleagues developed the Quality of Life Questionnaire (Evans, Burns, Robinson, & Garrett, 1985; Evans, & Cope, 1989). The methodology utilized in developing the questionnaire was the rational - empirical approach advocated by Jackson (1970). The Quality of Life Questionnaire is comprised of 15 twelve item scales designed to assess material well - being, physical well - being, personal growth, marital relations, parent - child relations, extended family relations, extrafamilial relations, altruistic behaviour, political behaviour, job characteristics, occupational relations, job satisfiers, creative/aesthetic behaviour, sports activity, and vacation behaviour. A scoring procedure permits the derivation of a prorated Quality of Life Score based on those scales which are relevant to the individual (Evans, & Cope, 1989). A paper and pencil, and a computer version of the questionnaire are available.

Evans (1994) reported preliminary data on the relationship between a range of global quality of life measures, including the Quality of Life Questionnaire (Evans, & Cope, 1989), the Perceived Quality of Life Scales (Pellizzari, 1992), the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988), and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin,1985). …

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