Quality of life indicators for individuals with intellectual disabilities: Extending Current Practice

Ivan Brown, Chris Hatton, Eric Emerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Quality of life is a social construct that is measured by what are considered to be its most appropriate indicators. Quality of life measurement in intellectual disability reflects a variety of indicators, often grouped under life domains. Subjective and objective methods of measuring indicators each have strengths and drawbacks, but it is currently considered best to use both methods. Indicators of quality of life that are common to all people have been measured to date, although indicators that are unique to individuals are highly useful for enhancing individual development and for applying person-centered practice. Aggregate quality of life data from individuals may not always be the best source of information for evaluating policies and service practices. A case is made for supplementing quality of life frameworks or adopting other frameworks for these purposes, with the Capabilities Framework offered as an example. Further, an argument is made that a pragmatic approach might best be taken to policy and program evaluation, whereby the key criterion for using a conceptual framework and set of indicators is its usefulness in effecting positive change in people's lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-332
Number of pages17
JournalIntellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Capabilities framework
  • Quality of life
  • Quality of life indicators
  • Quality of life measurement


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