From Physical to Spiritual: A Qualitative Study of Jakartans Health & Sickness

Yasinta Astin Sokang*, Alvin Henry Westmaas, Gerjo Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Understanding the perceptions of health and sickness can help the government, health providers and health promoters encourage individuals to participate in healthy behaviors and to follow a healthy lifestyle. Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is a culturally, socially and financially diverse city, with complex health care needs. As yet, there is no published data available about Jakartans' (i.e., the citizens of Jakarta city) perceptions on health and sickness. This study aimed to describe what health and sickness mean to Jakartans. To this means, we collected data using an open-ended survey about the meanings of health and sickness from 640 Jakartans. Five main themes of health and sickness emerged. The five themes of health were health as a physical condition, a psychological condition, a spiritual condition, a capability to carry out daily activities, and a healthy lifestyle. The themes regarding sickness were sickness as a physical condition, a psychological condition, an abnormal circumstance or bad situations, a spiritual condition, and an inability to carry out daily activities. We discussed how the above-mentioned perceptions might influence the daily health-related behaviors of Jakartans. In contrast to the typical biomedical approach, we found that, in Jakarta, health was not merely seen as a causal effect of the physical world. Further details are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3564
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • perception
  • Jakarta
  • health
  • sickness
  • qualitative study

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