Health Capability: Conceptualization and Operationalization
American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 100, No.1, pp. 41-49, 2010
9 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2009 Last revised: 17 Dec 2010
Date Written: November 17, 2009
Current theoretical approaches to bioethics and public health ethics propose varied justifications as the basis for health care and public health, yet none capture a fundamental reality: people seek good health and the ability to pursue it. Existing models do not effectively address these twin goals.
The approach I espouse captures both of these orientations through a concept here called health capability. Conceptually, health capability illuminates the conditions that affect health and one’s ability to make health choices. By respecting the health consequences individuals face and their health agency, health capability offers promise for finding a balance between paternalism and autonomy. I offer a conceptual model of health capability and present a health capability profile to identify and address health capability gaps.
Keywords: health, health capability, bioethics, public health ethics, health agency
JEL Classification: I10, I31, I00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation