Health Beliefs of Community Dwelling Older Adults in the United Arab Emirates: A Qualitative Study

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Ageing International


© 2012, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. There is a paucity of information about the health beliefs that older adults in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hold. This is a serious omission as understanding people’s ideas about health maintenance and disease prevention informs public health policy and practice. Using a qualitative methodology, twenty-three community dwelling adults aged between sixty and eighty years were interviewed. The data were analyzed to uncover the meanings of health and health beliefs ascribed by the participants within their narratives. Participant narratives revealed representations of health that were in close alignment with previous research. ‘Health as value’ also emerged as a distinct health belief. Analysis of the interview data identified three superordinate themes labeled ‘Health is what you eat’; ‘Health was better in the past’; and ‘Health is from God’ as factors that participants attributed to their health. The implications for the health care system in the UAE are discussed. As the first study of its kind within the UAE, this study provides a solid base from which future studies exploring health beliefs and social representations of health can build upon.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Carol Campbell, Zayed University