Last update:


Arch Hellen Med, 18(3), May-June 2001, 230-238


Social production functions theory

1Department of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, "G. Gennimatas" General Hospital of Athens,
2Department of Health and Care Administration, Technological Educational Institution of Athens,
3University of Athens, Greece

Social production functions (SPF) theory recognizes that health is only one of the determinant factors of quality of life (QoL). SPF theory also suggests a theoretical framework for the effects of disease on QoL. Quality of life in SPF theory is seen as psychological well-being which exists to the extent that the universal needs of physical well-being and social well-being are met. SPF theory assumes that people produce their own well-being by trying to optimise their achievement of universal needs. Humans choose cost-effective ways to produce well-being in order to achieve the satisfaction of their needs. The value of the SPF theory is that it relates the arguments purported in the relevant literature about the content of the approach to QoL as a phenomenon. These arguments are, on the one hand, as to whether QoL is a unidimensional or a multidimensional concept, thus whether measurement of QoL should have a unidimensional or multidimensional approach and, on the other hand, whether QoL is a subjective or objective phenomenon requiring a subjective or objective approach, accordingly, to its assessment. The linkage between these arguments is derived from the hierarchy between the higher and lower levels of the SPF theory (system). The unidimensional approach is related to the higher lever of hierarchy (psychological well-being, utility), while the multidimensional approach focuses on the lower level of the hierarchy (instrumental goals). The objective approach to QoL is reported in the level of the activities and resources, while the subjective approach is focused on the level of the universal needs and instrumental goals.

Key words: Disease, Health, Quality of life, Well-being.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine