Interpretative phenomenological analysis and the psychology of health and illness

Jonathan A. Smith, Paul Flowers, Mike Osborn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

121 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter is concerned with the ways in which individuals construe, make sense of, and talk about issues concerning health and illness. We consider the health domain is a particularly useful one in which to carry out such research because we take as our starting point both the existence of bodily states and also the degree to which individuals consider these states to be important. This is especially true when the body malfunctions and illness occurs. In these circumstances, people often consider their sense of identity is threatened and may expend considerable mental energy reflecting on what is occurring to them: Why is this happening to me? Did I bring it on myself? Will it be the same tomorrow and in the future?

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterial Discourses of Health and Illness
EditorsLucy Yardley
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 1997


  • health psychology
  • psychology of illness
  • phenomenological analysis


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