Few qualitative studies have explored adolescent boys’ perceptions of health.
Aim: The aim of this study was therefore to explore how adolescent boys understand the concept of health and what they find important for its achievement
Methods: Grounded theory was used as a method to analyse interviews with 33 adolescent boys aged 16 to 17 years attending three upper secondary schools in a relatively small town in Sweden.
Results: There was a complexity in how health was perceived, experienced, dealt with, and valued. Although health on a conceptual level was described as ‘holistic’, health was experienced and dealt with in a more dualistic manner, one in which the boys were prone to differentiate between mind and body. Health was experienced as mainly emotional and relational, whereas the body had a subordinate value. The presence of positive emotions, experiencing self-esteem, balance in life, trustful relationships, and having a sense of belonging were important factors for health while the body was experienced as a tool to achieve health, as energy, and as a condition.
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that young, masculine health is largely experienced through emotions and relationships and thus support theories on health as a social construction of interconnected processes.
2016. Vol. 10, 26-35 p.