Although the concept of health is central to nursing practice and science, measurement of the concept has lagged far behind theory development. The study presented extends Laffrey's earlier work by describing the meaning of health for a population of women representing multiple ethnic groups residing in the Pacific Northwest. A sample of 528 women from a cross-section of a community who had participated in a study of women's health was asked to respond to the question, “What does being healthy mean to you?” In addition to evidence of the clinical, role performance, and adaptive models of health, the women's responses yielded nine dimensions consistent with the eudaemonistic model. Each dimension included multiple descriptors identified through content analysis of the women's verbatim responses. The women's images of health were consistent with Smith's and Laffrey's four conceptions, but the eudaemonistic category included multiple dimensions. The women reported images of health consistent with contemporary nursing theorists' views. Moreover, their emphasis on eudaemonistic images crossed all categories of age, education, income, ethnicity, and employment status.
© 1988 Aspen Publishers, Inc.