TitleQuality of life in the Palestinian context: an inquiry in war-like conditions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsGiacaman, R, Mataria, A, Nguyen-Gillham, V, Safieh, RA, Stefanini, A, Chatterji, S
JournalHealth Policy
Date PublishedApr
ISBN Number0168-8510 (Print)<br/>0168-8510 (Linking)
Accession Number16797776
Keywords*Quality of Life, *War, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Arabs, Female, Focus Groups, Humans, Israel, Male, Middle Aged

This study aims to elucidate the concept of quality of life (QOL) in a unique environment characterized by protracted and ongoing conflict, beginning with the utilization of the WHOQOL-Bref as a starting point for discussion. It works to determine important health-related quality of life domains and items within each domain, and evaluate issues pertinent to the Palestinian population's understanding of life quality in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with individuals living in the Gaza Strip and Ramallah District of the West Bank. Participants were asked if they understood the term QOL; and about the determinants of their own QOL, using open-ended questions. Participants were then presented with the WHOQOL-Bref questions and requested to assess their relevance and importance in determining their own QOL, and encouraged to suggest additional ones. A total of 150 men and women of various ages and socioeconomic classes participated in 13 FGD. A major finding is the all-encompassing impact of the political context on Palestinians' QOL assessment. The study demonstrates that political freedom, self-determination, participation in democratic processes and feeling involved in political decision-making are considered important contributors to people's QOL. The study raises the option of adding a new domain to the WHOQOL-Bref, allowing the study of its psychometric properties and its relationship to the rest of the instrument. This contribution should be particularly relevant to societies and cultures in conflict-affected zones and locales where violence and insecurity constitute an important part of life. The documentation of QOL, beyond fatal and non-fatal health outcomes, must remain an important objective of all evaluations in order to guide policy and resource allocation decisions directed towards improving peoples' lives in general and their health in particular.