Objectives: Conventional approaches to quality of life (QoL) measurement rely heavily on verbal, language-based communication. They require respondents to have significant cognitive and verbal ability, making them potentially unsuitable for people with severe mental health problems. To facilitate an alternative approach to QoL assessment, the current study aims to develop an alternative, visual representation of QoL for people with severe mental health problems. Methods: An alternative, visual adaptation of the concept mapping method was used to construct this visual representation of QoL. Eighty-two participants (i.e., patients, care professionals, and family members) contributed to this study. Results were processed statistically to construct the concept map. Results: The concept map contains 160 unique visual statements, grouped into 8 clusters labelled (1) Support and Attention, (2) Social Contacts, (3) Happiness and Love, (4) Relaxation and Harmony, (5) Leisure, (6) Lifestyle, (7) Finances, and (8) Health and Living. Examples of visual statements are pictures of family silhouettes, romantic couples, natural scenes, houses, sports activities, wallets and coins, smiley faces, and heart shapes. The clusters were interpreted and labelled by participants. Conclusions: Almost all of the statements correspond to clusters found in previous (non-visual) QoL research. Hence, QoL domains can also be presented visually.

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Keywords concept mapping, people with severe mental health problems, quality of life, visual method
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1721, hdl.handle.net/1765/110112
Journal International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (Print)
Buitenweg, D.C. (David C.), Bongers, I.L. (Ilja L.), van de Mheen, H, Oers, H.A.M, & Van Nieuwenhuizen, C. (Chijs). (2018). Worth a thousand words? Visual concept mapping of the quality of life of people with severe mental health problems. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research (Print), 27(3). doi:10.1002/mpr.1721