» ISQOLS White Papers - International Society for Quality of Life Studies - ISQOLS

ISQOLS White Papers

ISQOLS White Papers are essentially projects commissioned by ISQOLS to benefit the collective community of QOL researchers.

Three projects have been commissioned so far:

  • The first one involves a critique of selected popular national-level QOL measures and proving guidelines for the construction of better measures.
  • The second project involves an assessment of the historical roots of QOL research from various disciplines (philosophy, sociology, economics, psychology, marketing, management, and health/medicine), followed by an assessment of current trends and a future forecast.
  • The third project involves developing guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being. The document was endoresed by many prominent QOL researchers. The third white paper is available directly through this website as a pdf file. Copyright of this document belongs to Ed Diener who gave ISQOLS permission to publish this document.


1. Hagerty, M. R., Cummins, R., Ferriss, A. L., Land, K., Michalos, A., Peterson, M., Sharpe, A., Sirgy, M. J., and Vogel, J. (2001). Quality-of-life indexes for national policy: review and agenda for research. Social Indicators Research, 55(1), 1-96;also published in Bulletin de Methologie Sociologique, 71 (July), 58-78.

Abstract: A number of governments and public policy institutes have developed “Quality of Life Indexes”–statistics that attempt to measure the quality of life for entire states or regions. Hagerty et al develop 14 criteria for determining the validity and usefulness of such QOL indexes to public policy.


2. Sirgy, M. J., Michalos, A. C., Ferriss, A. L., Easterlin, R. A., Patrick, D., and Pavot, W. (2006). The quality-of-life (QOL) research movement: Past, present, and future. Social Indicators Research, 76(3), 343-466.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to trace the history of the social indicators or quality-of-life (QOL) research movement up to today, forecast future developments, and paves the way for future growth. Broadly speaking, we tried to review historical antecedents from the point of view of different disciplines, with specialists in each discipline preparing the basic text and co-authors helping to polish the material into a finished product. Briefly, we begin with an overview of the conceptual and philosophical foundations of our field of research. That is followed by a historical overview of the sociological roots of our field. In the third section, the main contributions from the discipline of economics are reviewed. Following that, the fourth section covers a historical overview of the literature on health-related quality of life is provided. Next, the history of QOL research from a marketing perspective is reviewed followed by a history from the perspectives of industrial/organizational psychology and management. Finally, we offer some forecasts for future QOL studies that are intended not only to predict what might happen, but to encourage, stimulate and motivate researchers to undertake new initiatives.


3. Diener, E.(2006). Guidelines for national indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7(4), 397-404. [pdf]

Abstract: There is increasing interest in using indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being to inform policy debates, and there are now national and international surveys of subjective well-being and ill-being in the European Union, Australia, and elsewhere. Furthermore, subjective indicators of well-being are already a significant component of monitoring important domains such as health-related quality of life. Subjective well-being measures may be used as input to discussions about national policies, and they can also be helpful to business leaders, as well as to government officials at the local and regional levels. The indicators of subjective well-being and ill-being can be used for the evaluation of policies in many domains, including health care, public health, social services, parks and recreation, work life, transportation, families, and the environment. In democratic societies the indicators provide an important source of information to leaders about the well-being and concerns of the citizens.