‘A healthy lifestyle is a journey’: Exploring health perceptions and self-defined facilitators to health through photo-elicitation

Iga Palacz-Poborczyk, Kerry Chamberlain, Felix Naughton, Alicja Baska, Aleksandra Luszczynska, Eleanor Quested, Martin S. Hagger, Sherry Pagoto, Peter Verboon, Suzanne Robinson, Dominika Kwasnicka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to explore health perceptions and self-defined facilitators to health in general population. An additional aim of the study was to assess if these perceptions were connected with the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Design: We applied photo-elicitation method by gathering original photographs and narratives (captions) via social media and e-mails. Participants (N = 50) were asked to answer the question: ‘What does it mean to be healthy?’. Data were collected online in Poland. We generated and interpreted the main themes associated with common perceptions of health and self-defined facilitators to health using polytextual thematic analysis.

Results: The health perception themes were, health as: a ‘long journey’; keeping balance; and self-acceptance. The main facilitators to health were: enjoyment of activities that are part of a healthy lifestyle; planning time for rest; contact with nature, and supportive relationships. Participants’ perceptions of how Covid-19 impacted on their health differed.

Conclusions: The findings provide evidence for individual health perceptions and self-defined facilitators to health and can support the development of future health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology and Health
Early online date7 Sep 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2023

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