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ERIC Number: EJ928932
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0890-765X
Lay Meanings of Health among Rural Older Adults in Appalachia
Goins, R. Turner; Spencer, S. Melinda; Williams, Kimberly
Journal of Rural Health, v27 n1 p13-20 Win 2011
Purpose: Self-perceptions of health vary depending on one's social and cultural context. Rural residents have been characterized as having a distinct culture, and health differences by residence have been well documented. While there is evidence of poor health among rural older adults, little research has examined how they perceive and define health. Qualitative methods may help capture these lay meanings of health. The purpose of our study was to use a qualitative approach to examine what perceptions community-dwelling rural older adults have regarding their health. Methods: The study involved thirteen 90-minute focus groups and short self-administered surveys with community-dwelling persons aged 60 years or older residing in 6 rural West Virginia communities. A total of 101 participants were asked questions about their personal definitions of health. With professional transcribed tapes from the focus group discussions, we used a systematic text analysis approach. Findings: Discussions included 4 themes on the meaning of health: (1) health as a value, (2) dimensions of life, (3) holistic nature of health, and (4) health care use and adherence. Conclusion: Our results expand on previous studies and demonstrate that health is a subjective, multidimensional construct deeply embedded in the everyday experience of rural older adults. We found that older adults' perceptions about health contain components which most medical professionals would not take into account. Health care providers may consider supplementing traditional medical approaches with a more contextually sensitive recognition of rural elders' desired health goals and outcomes. (Contains 1 table and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia