A key challenge for the theorisation and measurement of QOL relates to the impact of factors such as gender, ethnicity and socio-economic context. Many of the standard measures of QOL fail to account for the ways in which the wider socio-cultural context impacts on people's experiences or the way's in which these experiences might change over time or from one context to another. Other theoretical and methodological issues relate to the ways in which experiences of QOL are affected by what a person has come to regard as normal. Additionally, it is important to begin to explain how people's measured QOL is related to recovery, coping and healthy living.At present, much of the research on QOL is descriptive without being able to explain how ethnicity, gender, poverty or social disadvantage impact on health outcomes.
A growing body of QOL research is combining the qualitative methods of anthropology with the more quantitative approaches of epidemiology to address the need for introducing contextual variables into QOL research.
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