J Korean Acad Nurs.  2010 Oct;40(5):662-675. 10.4040/jkan.2010.40.5.662.

The Meaning of Illness among Korean Americans with Chronic Hepatitis B

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nursing, Inje University, Busan, Korea. jhyang@inje.ac.kr
  • 2College of Nursing and Health Science, University of Massachusetts Boston, MA, USA.
  • 3Department of Nursing, Dongeui University, Busan, Korea.

Abstract

PURPOSE
This ethnography was done to explore the meaning of illness in Korean Americans with chronic hepatitis B.
METHODS
The participants were 6 patients with chronic hepatitis B and 6 general informants who could provide relevant data. Data were collected from iterative fieldwork with ethnographic interviews within Korean communities in two cities in the United States. Data were analyzed using causal chain analysis developed by Wolcott.
RESULTS
The analyses revealed three meanings for the illness: hidden disease, intentionally hidden disease, and inevitably hidden disease. The contexts of meaning of illness included characteristics of the illness, social stigma, structure of health care system and communication patterns and discourse between health care providers and clients.
CONCLUSION
The meaning of illness was based on folk illness concepts and constructed in the sociocultural context. Folk etiology, pathology and interpretation of one's symptoms were factors influencing illness behavior. These findings could be a cornerstone for culture specific care for Korean Americans with chronic hepatitis B.

Keyword

Qualitative research; Chronic Hepatitis B; Chronic disease

MeSH Terms

Aged
*Asian Americans
Delivery of Health Care
Female
Health Personnel
Hepatitis B, Chronic/*ethnology/etiology/psychology
Humans
Interviews as Topic
Male
Middle Aged
Republic of Korea/ethnology
Social Stigma
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