The purpose of Melissa Kelsey’s review, Determining Saskatoon’s Value Profile, is to examine existing studies related to quality of life indicators. From there, Kelsey seeks to discern patterns to better develop policies and programs that positively impact quality of life. Buttressed with an extensive bibliography, Kelsey’s study offers a valuable introduction to quality of life in Saskatoon.
Kelsey’s analysis of current literature suggests four general themes: health, safety, housing, and belonging. Weaknesses in the current literature include: a tendency to be reactive rather than pro-active; focusing on community needs and problems rather than its assets and virtues; focusing on gaining community approval rather than looking for strategic expertise; and suffering from gender, class, and ethnicity imbalances in research methodology. Possible improvements to quality of life methodologies include more integrated approaches, an awareness that results are not transferable to all subpopulations, and a realization that each subpopulation lends itself to a specific focus.
From her review, Kelsey modifies an existing model that includes the following domains: Physical Being (physical health, mobility, nutrition, fitness, and appearance); Psychological Being (independence, autonomy, self-acceptance, and freedom from stress); Spiritual Being (personal values, standards, and spiritual beliefs); Physical Belonging (physical aspects of the immediate environment); Social Belonging (family, friends, and acquaintances); Community Belonging (availability of societal resources and services); Practical Becoming (home, school, and work activities); Leisure Becoming (indoor and outdoor activities and recreational resources); and Growth Becoming (learning things, improving skills and relationships, and adapting).
Kelsey then applies these domains to three demographic groups—youth, adults, and seniors—as well as pays specific attention to the Aboriginal and gender component of each. The goal of such applications is to demonstrate how each sub-population approaches each domain differently, something to which quality of life researchers must be sensitive.
While only a preliminary exploration of quality of life methodologies, Kelsey’s examination of the literature and application to specific Saskatoon concerns serves as a valuable contribution to the field.