Being Healthy: A Grounded Theory Study of Help Seeking Behaviour Among Chinese Elders living in the UK

  • Zhenmi Liu

Student thesis: Phd


AbstractBackground: The incidence of chronic diseases is relatively higher among elderly groups. However, the research base about aging patients' attitudes towards help-seeking behaviours remains largely unexplored. When considering the racial, ethnic, and cultural factors which may affect help seeking among elderly people from minority groups, then the issue becomes more complicated with less research evidence available in general. The UK has an increasingly diverse elderly population about whom relatively little is known. To date, no published studies which examine Chinese elders' help seeking behaviour in the UK have been identified. Aim:The aim of this study is to investigate the health related behaviour, particular the early help seeking behaviours, among Chinese elders in the UK. By so doing, it is hoped that their help seeking experiences, particularly the potential difficulties and barriers, can be understood in order to ultimately improve the health of Chinese immigrants in the UK.Methodology:This study used Grounded Theory to explore how Chinese elders in a UK setting faced and resolved their health related problems, particularly when directly facing health related problems. A total of 33 Chinese elders from Manchester participated directly in the study, consenting to semi-structured and open-ended interviews. The data were coded and analysed using constant comparative analysis (Glaser and Strauss 1967; Glaser 1978; Glaser 1992b). Results:Theoretical concepts derived from data analysis were used to generate a substantive theory of being healthy. The theory consists of four interrelated categories. The first category is self management which describes how elders managed every aspect of their daily life to gain their goal of being healthy. Second was that via normalising/minimising certain symptoms, elders gained a sense of being healthy. The third category, access to health services, discussed the external components which influenced elders' help seeking behaviour, including their family and the health care services in the UK. The fourth category was being cured, arising from the third category, and presented elders' viewpoint of getting cured of symptoms but not eliminating the root of disease. It highlighted the dissatisfaction with the interactions between Chinese elders and UK health professionals. Conclusion:This study provides a theory of Chinese elders' concerns about health issues in their daily life as well and how they think through, act and react when facing health problems. These understandings of Chinese elders' health related perceptions and behaviours have the potential to increase the quality of health care services provided by UK health professionals to Chinese patients. The implications for healthcare, nursing, and further theory development and research are discussed.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorShaun Speed (Supervisor) & Kinta Beaver (Supervisor)

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