Journal List > J Korean Acad Nurs > v.39(2) > 1002523

Yih and Yi: The Life Stories of Elderly Korean Women with Urinary Incontinence: A Narrative Study Approach



The purpose of this study was to investigate the experience of urinary incontinence (UI) for elderly Korean women using a narrative approach.


The data were collected using individual in-depth interviews with 15 community-dwelling elderly women who had UI for at least 1 yr. The narratives of the life stories of these women were analyzed from the actor's perspective, motivation and purpose of actions, and action toward goal achievement. Also the narratives on UI were analyzed according to cognition, behavior, and evaluation of UI.


Three major types of the life stories emerged from the analysis. First, the conquest narrative type reflects active characteristics of narrators within the circumstances of the sociocultural context. Second, the patience narrative is characterized as having flexibility between self determination for goal achievement and the boundary of the sociocultural context. Lastly, the compliance narrative reflected characteristics of narrators who easily adapt their way of life to circumstances. In terms of UI, the narrators in all three types lacked awareness of UI as an illness condition. Three different reasons are specifically identified according to the narrative types.


The results of this study indicate that the concept and the illness behaviors related to UI in elderly Korean women with UI were closely related to the way of women's lives within the sociocultural and historical context.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Narrative Analysis of Life Stories

+++ (Strong)=An exemplar of the theme; ++ (Medium)=Coexistence of an exemplar and a counterexample of the theme; + (Weak)=not a specified example of the theme.

Table 2
Narrative Types of Life Stories

NF=Narrator-focused; OF=Others-focused; SI=Self-improvement; CB=Communion-based; SD=Self-determination; A=Adaptability.


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