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"This money begged here is paid with blood": A qualitative study of the Romanian beggars' perceptions on their health status before and during begging, and their health maintaining strategies in Uppsala, Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Introduction The beggars are one the most vulnerable and stigmatized groups in the European society and are determined to live in substandard conditions, characterized by lack of sanitation and overcrowdings, and bare the harsh weather conditions to earn their living. Often, they have limited access to healthcare and their lifestyle has a great impact upon their health. However, little is known about their own perceptions of their health and their strategies to keep it.

Aim The aim was to explore the Romanian beggars’ perceptions of their health prior to and during begging, the perceived consequences of begging on their health, and their coping strategies to maintain health while begging in Uppsala, Sweden.

Method Data was collected from 8 semi-structured interviews in Uppsala, Sweden during March 2015. The collected data was then analysed using manifest qualitative content analysis.

Findings The Romanian beggars in Uppsala perceived their health status to be affected through their activity. Physical consequences involved developing new illnesses and conditions, but also aggravating previous health conditions, and mental consequences included degrading and marginalizing effects of begging, but also harassment from passersby. Access to healthcare in Sweden was limited and determined the beggars to develop alternative strategies for health management or to return to Romania for treatment.    

Conclusion The health status was found to be both negatively and positively affected through complex interactions between the individual and the surrounding levels: social network, community, institutions and society. More attention should be given to this group from all levels to improve their health status.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 56 p.
Keyword [en]
beg, beggar, beggars, begging, homeless, health, health status, health management, health strategies, lifestyle, Sweden, Uppsala, Romania, Romanian, interview, semi-structured, Qualitative Research, QCA, manifest qualitative content analysis, Socioecological model, Roma, Gypsy, marginalized, vulnerable
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263389OAI: diva2:857977
Educational program
Master Programme in International Health
Available from: 2015-11-20 Created: 2015-09-30 Last updated: 2015-11-20Bibliographically approved

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Department of Women's and Children's Health
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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