CASP in the classroom

Exploring CASP-19 as a definition of quality of life in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

CASP-19 is useful not only as a measure of quality of life in research, but also as an approach to defining quality of life. Quality of life is a complex and difficult concept to define, with research studies and other literature using multiple and diverse definitions. The difficulties inherent in defining quality of life are a focus of Week 2 in the upcoming Trinity EngAGE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – Strategies for Successful Ageing. The CASP-19 is put forward for discussion as a potential definition of quality of life at older ages.

In the MOOC, we discuss some of the challenges faced in defining quality of life. We emphasise the difficulties associated with definitions of quality of life that focus on health, particularly physical health. We draw on qualitative and quantitative evidence that shows that many people with poor health see themselves as having a good quality of life, and that as we get older physical health may become less important to our overall evaluations of our quality of life.

The CASP-19 is offered as a potential alternative definition of quality of life that is less focussed on physical health. It also includes concepts such as self-determination and purpose in life that are increasingly seen as fundamental to wellbeing. As part of the MOOC, we invite participants to discuss the CASP-19 approach to defining quality of life, and whether it fits with their own concepts of quality of life.

Definitions of quality of life are not just a technical and methodological issue. Concepts of quality of life that are overly focussed on physical health may influence our attitudes to ageing, leading to an overly pessimistic view of what life is like as we age. Definitions of quality of life that have the potential to capture the positive aspects of ageing can lead to a more positive outlook on ageing, for both individuals and society.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Strategies for Successful Ageing is now open for registration on the FutureLearn platform. This free five-week MOOC launches on the 8th of February 2016. It presents world-leading research in ageing and offers strategies to support health and well-being. The lead educator is Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Director of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing and Founder of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). She is joined by Trinity EngAGE Principal Investigators including: Professors Davis Coakley, Brian Lawlor, Ian Robertson, Des O’Neil, Virpi Timonen, Fiona Newell, Sabina Brennan, Richard Layte and Dr David Thomas.

See the course description here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/successful-ageing/1

TCD Online Education: https://www.tcd.ie/OnlineEducation/

Posted by Dr Eithne Sexton

Welcome

This site is designed to provide information for researchers who are interested in using the CASP measure of quality of life. CASP stands for Control, Autonomy, Self-realisation and Pleasure. It is an easy to administer, self-completion scale of either 19 or 12 questions that measures quality of life in later life. Since it was developed in 2003/4 CASP has gone on to be used in a variety of studies around the world and has been translated into several languages. It has been included in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the Health, Work and Retirement (HWR) survey in New Zealand, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and many more. It has also been used in smaller scale studies and even Randomised Control Tests. The validity, utility and adaptability of the CASP have made it one of the most commonly used measures of quality of life in later life.