Journal List > Korean J Health Promot > v.16(1) > 1089901

Lee, Ock, Kim, Kim, Kim, and Jo: Health Group and Disease Group's Perceptions of Health and Health-related Quality of Life: a Focus Group Study and In-depth Interviews



This study aimed to understand and explore perception of healthy adults and chronically ill adults on health and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).


Data were collected by open questions using a focus group discussion for healthy adults (N=6) and in-depth interviews for chronically ill adults (N=6). Previously developed 34 HRQoL items also were offered and participants were asked to select the five most important HRQoL items among them.


Findings were elicited along the following themes: health, HRQoL, health maintenance strategies, and elements affecting health. The definition on “being healthy” by healthy participants had a variety of standards and required several conditions to be fulfilled. Whereas chronically ill adults have more flexible perception about the coexistence of health and disease. Health dimensions were thought to affect each other, and physical and mental health dimension were selected as the most important items. As for the five most important HRQoL items, both group participants selected mental health dimension than physical or social health dimensions. Health maintenance strategies were similar in both groups except more healthcare service use in chronically ill adults.


This study shows the difference of perception on health and HRQoL between health group and disease group in Korea. It can be used for developing the HRQoL assessment tool reflecting the perception of Korean people.


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Table 1.
Guideline for conducting a focus group discussion and in-depth interviews
Opening • Explaining the procedure and the purpose of focus group discussion/in-depth interview
  • Self-introduction
Introductory questions • Thinking or feeling on health
  • One's own past and current health condition
Key questions • Definition of health
  • Definition of health-related quality of life and its dimensions and items
  • Assessing one's own health-related quality of life using EQ-5D
  • Important items of health-related quality of life
Closure • Thanks for participating
Table 2.
Characteristics of healthy group and disease group
    Healthy group   Disease group
Age (Mean, SD)   40.33 (6.28)   58.50 (6.89)
Female (n, %)   3 (50)   4 (33.3)
Education perioda (year)   All 16   F 1: 9, F 4: 12, F 2, F 3: 6
Self-rated healthb M 1 Very good M 1 Fair
  M 2 Good M 2 Fair
  M 3 Good F 1 Good
  F 1 Good F 2 Very good
  F 2 Good F 3 Fair
  F 3 Good F 4 Good
EQ-5D–3L profilec M 1 11111 M 1 11111
  M 2 11112 M 2 21211
  M 3 11111 F 1 21122
  F 1 11111 F 2 11121
  F 2 11122 F 3 11222
  F 3 11112 F 4 21121
EQ-5D index (Mean, SD)   0.95 (0.06)   0.85 (0.09)
Morbidity   None M 1 Diabetes mellitus
      M 2 Parkinson's disease
      F 1 Diabetes mellitus, Hypercholesterolemia
      F 2 Hypercholesterolemia
      F 3 Hypertension
      F 4 Diabetes mellitus, Anemia

Abbreviations: SD, standard deviation; M, male; F, female.

a Male participants did not answer the question about education period.

b Participants responded on a 5-point Likert scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor.

c EQ-5D–3L descriptive system comprises 5 dimension: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression. Each dimension has 3 levels: no problems, some problems and extreme problems.

Table 3.
Selecting items of health-related quality of life
Health dimension Healthy group Disease group
Items Items
n % n %
Physical 14.5 50.3 15.7 58.8
Mental 11.2 38.7 8.8 33.1
Social 3.2 11.0 2.2 8.1
Total 28.8 100.0 26.7 100.0
Table 4.
Ranking orders of items of health-related quality of life
  Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3 Rank 4 Rank 5
Healthy group        
M1 Belief, Faith Positive feelings about life Value for life and world Easygoingness Confidence
M2 Relationships with Leisure activity Concentration Tranquilness, calmness Climbing stairs
M3 Vitality Relationships with family Satisfaction with oneself Easygoingness Happiness, joy
      and life    
F1 Belief, faith Coping with stress Relationships with family Working Symptoms that limit usual activities
F2 Walking Vision Happiness, joy Relationships with family Thinking
F3 Happiness, joy Coping with stress Keeping balance Sexual activity Relationships with family
Diseas se groupa        
M1 Easygoingness Positive thinking Walking Working Consideration
M2 Relationships with family Appearance management Thinking Belief, faith Thinking about suicide
F1 Relationships with family Stamina Memory Sexual activity Environmental pollution
F2 Walking Taste sense Easygoingness Worthlessness Relationships with
F4 Toileting Sleep Standing up from chair/ Recovery from fatigue Difficulty with decision
      bed   making

Abbreviations: M, male; F, female.

a Female 3 participant did not complete ranking orders.

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