‘I worry so much I think it will kill me’: Psychosocial health and the links to the conditions of women's lives in Papua New Guinea

Hinton, Rachael; Earnest, Jaya
April 2010
Health Sociology Review;Apr2010, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p5
Academic Journal
The links between the social and material conditions of women's lives in Papua New Guinea and their poor physical and psychosocial health has had limited examination. This article describes a qualitative interpretative study that examined the ways in which women expressed the links between their psychosocial health and the social, cultural and economic environment in which they lived. In-depth interviews, focus group discussions, ranking exercises and photo narratives were used to explore women's experiences of health throughout their lifespan. The innovative use of these qualitative tools and participatory methods provides new insights to challenge the discourse of health provision in Papua New Guinea. The findings document women's experience and lives in a challenging environment that leads to ‘worrying’ and ‘thinking too much’ and which imparts and exerts a powerful influence on health. Women's accounts illustrated feelings of powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness when faced with financial constraints, unsupportive social relationships, violence and heavy household workloads. The article proposes the need for a thorough examination of women's psychosocial health concerns to situate women's health programmes and interventions within the context of their lives.


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