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What influence do major events in life have on our later quality of life? A retrospective study on life events and associated emotions.

Soren Ventegodt, Trine Flensborg-Madsen, Niels Jorgen Andersen, Joav Merrick

Med Sci Monit 2006; 12(2): SR9-15

ID: 445254

Available online: 2006-02-01

Published: 2006-02-01

BACKGROUND: To examine associations between global quality of life (QOL) and major life events. MATERIAL/METHODS: This was a retrospective study using the self-administrated expanded SEQOL questionnaire with questions on life events and connected emotions. Seven hundred forty-six people, 55-66 years old, from a representative sample of the Danish population participated. Global QOL was measured by SEQOL (self-evaluation of quality of life), containing eight global QOL measures: well-being, life-satisfaction, happiness, fulfillment of needs, experience of temporal and spatial domains, expression of life's potentials, and objective factors. RESULTS: Life events related to health such as restraints of movement or psychological illness showed a major association with the quality of life. Most other associations between quality of life and life events were intermediate or minor. CONCLUSIONS: Quality of life cannot simply be determined by life events. Actual quality of life is determined by how all the events of life have been processed and integrated in the consciousness. The results seem to support the idea that global QOL can be efficiently improved by integrating the painful events of the past. Since several studies have shown correlations between QOL and health, it is likely that such an improvement in QOL will also cause improved health and ability.

Keywords: Emotions, Denmark, Biometry, Life Change Events, Life Style, Quality of Life - psychology, Questionnaires