Patients’ Conceptions of Integrity within Health Care Illuminated from a Gender and a Personal Space Boundary Perspective

by Widäng, Ingrid

Abstract (Summary)
The aims of this licentiate thesis were to explore and describe female and male patients’ conceptions of integrity within health care and to illuminate the conceptions from a gender as well as a personal space boundary perspective. A qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach was used. The participants, 17 male (Study I) and 15 female patients (Study II), all of whom had undergone medical or surgical care, were strategically selected and interviewed. The identified conceptions were also analysed from a gender as well as a personal space boundary perspective.Three description categories emerged among the male patients (Study I); self-respect, dignity and confidence, while maintaining the self, dignity and confidence were the description categories found among the female patients (Study II). Male patients’ description of self-respect and female patients’ description of maintaining the self were for the most part similar although there were some differences. The conceptions revealed that integrity involves having the courage to set boundaries and having control over the private sphere, one’s self and one’s situation. While the male patients emphasised selfbelief and being alone, their female counterparts stressed that preserving one’s identity was essential in order to maintain the self. Dignity concerned being respected, and the male patients also described dignity as being seen as a trustworthy and whole person, while the women described it as not being exposed. Both male and female patients described confidence, which was related to handling patient information in a confidential way, trusting the professional caregivers, participating as well as balancing or changing the boundaries of integrity if necessary. The male patients also described confidence as being free.The personal space boundary perspective was useful for explaining the process of respecting the self by opening or closing outgoing and incoming boundaries around the self. The patients had to consider who, when and to what degree others should have access to their personal spaces. The way in which the professional caregivers interacted with the patient influenced the openness of the boundaries.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:Health services research; confidence; dignity; female patient; gender; health care; integrity; maintaining the self; male patient; personal space boundary; phenomenography; self-respect; Hälso- och sjukvårdsforskning


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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