Adolescents’ concepts of health and illness

Shoshana Shiloh, Rachel Waiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthy adolescents’ conceptualizations of illness and health, and their relation to health locus of control, intelligence level, and experience with health care were studied. Sixty-one 14–15 year-old subjects completed questionnaires about the meaning of illness and health. Results show that: (1) respondents were more expressive about the illness concept than the health concept; (2) the most frequently used theme for both illness and health concepts was role-behavioral, followed by somatic feelings, psychological aspects and prevention or health promotion; (3) health and illness were defined in equivalent but not opposite terms; and (4) significant relationships exist between use of specific thematic categories in defining health and illness, experience with health care was related negatively to fluency of responses on illness and health, and internal health locus of control was related to use of the prevention-health promotion themes. Implications of these findings for health education efforts are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-88
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


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